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Hospital "inadequate" for second year.


A hospital has been rated inadequate for a second year with some patients at "high risk" of harm and equipment often out of date, according to a report by Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors.

In its latest inspection report, the CQC said that Colchester Hospital's leadership was poor even though it was first put into special measures in 2013.

The report says that end-of-life patients at the hospital did not always receive "safe or effective care."

The health watchdog also found that operations were regularly cancelled and some cancer patients had to wait more than 100 days for treatment.

Outpatients were often placed "at high risk of avoidable harm" because of a "real lack of understanding" of waiting lists.

Many items of equipment had not been tested for several years although this was raised as a concern at a previous inspection.

In addition, mothers were not always treated "with sufficient dignity and respect" on the postnatal ward.

The CQC praised staff for being dedicated but inspectors said they felt let down because many agency workers did not show the same level of commitment.

The CQC chief inspector of Hospitals, Prof Sir Mike Richards, said the hospital had a "serious number of problems" and had shown "only limited capacity to improve.”

He said: "While staff have been working hard through many issues to drive improvements locally, their efforts have been affected by poor leadership and a high use of agency staff, some of whom are unsuitable in terms of their skills and knowledge."

Prof Richards recommended that the trust should remain in special measures for a further three months and submit weekly improvement plans.

The trust's council of governors said the report might have an impact on recruitment and was "likely to have a negative effect on the morale of our dedicated and loyal staff.”

It added that all high-risk medical devices had been checked since the inspection.

Colchester Hospital chief executive, Frank Sims, said he was disappointed with the report but it would be used as a blueprint for improvement.