HAMPSHIRE hospitals are among those graded as poorly performing nationally in aspects of patient safety, according to newly compiled data.
Lack of staff, care of the elderly and mentally ill teenagers are among the concerns that rank hospitals in Southampton and Winchester as poor in key areas.
The NHS "patient safety indicators" published on the NHS Choices website uses a colour-coded system. Green is for good, blue for average and red for poor. This allows patients to compare their hospitals with others in England.
Two hospitals scored red because they did not meet Care Quality Commission (CQC) standards. This followed recent inspections.
The latest CQC published report criticises the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester for not meeting the needs of dementia patients. It found the accident and emergency ward was not doing enough to spot dementia patients and so keep them safe.
The report adds: “Patients’ assessment records on wards that we looked at had not always been fully completed.”
Tests to see if patients were in pain were “not consistently used”, meaning some might not be receiving proper pain relief.
One dementia patient’s records indicated he had not had enough to drink and when the inspectors asked about eating they were told he had no breakfast.
Staff said he refused meals and needed to see a dietician about nutrition, although that had not happened.
The report said: “This put the patient at risk of not having adequate support to meet their nutritional needs.”
The lack of staff trained in dementia care was also indentified as a problem.
CQC inspectors were also concerned about the 10-bed Kingfisher Ward for young people at the Priory Hospital in Marchwood, near Southampton.
The Priory Hospital at Marchwood.
This is a private hospital which takes NHS referrals for general psychiatric conditions.
During their inspection they spoke to a mentally-ill 14-year-old found to have signed a consent form for their treatment while under age.
It was also found no competency test had been carried out before the teenager signed.
The inspection also examined care notes. In one case involving a suicidal young person, they found notes did not indicate what assessments had been carried out or whether national guidelines were followed.
A care plan for that same teenager did not state how they would receive nursing help for self-harming.
The report said: “It was clear there were gaps in understanding what nursing interventions could or should be.”
Universities Hospital Southampton (UHS), the trust which runs Southampton General, the Princess Anne and the Royal South Hampshire Hospital, was given a red rating for its patient safety alert.
This was because of a delay returning assessment to NHS England to show how it was minimising any delays of medicines or treatment for patients being treated in their own home by the hospital trust.
Gail Byrne, director of quality at UHS, said: “Following this patient safety alert, which was issued to all NHS trusts in April, we have carefully and rigorously assessed all patients who receive healthcare services at home to ensure they are receiving the right medication at the right time.
“This process has taken longer than anticipated due to the large numbers of patients we treat via homecare, but it will be completed by the end of this week – at which point we will be fully compliant with all NHS England’s patient safety alerts.”
However, this aside, the trust compared favourable in other areas of patient safety.
A spokesman for the Priory Hospital said: “This inspection took place more than six months ago in November, 2013.
“The issues raised, which related to two specific areas, have been addressed and a few months ago, the hospital requested for the CQC to come back and re-inspect the hospital in order to satisfy themselves that all the necessary actions have been taken.”
A statement from Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “The CQC identified two areas of minor concern which the Foundation Trust has been working to improve.
“These include ensuring adequate staffing levels and better recording of specialist assessments.”