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Colchester Hospital 'major incident'.


A ‘Major Incident’ has been declared by Colchester Hospital following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The hospital trust said the major incident may last a week, and asked patients to visit Accident & Emergency only if they have a "serious or life-threatening condition.”

The declaration followed the CQC visit which raised "safeguarding concerns" following an inspection and found staff struggling to cope with "unprecedented demand."

Colchester Hospital University NHS Trust interim chief executive Dr Lucy Moore said the focus was on "discharging patients."

She said that by diverting resources away from “things that can wait" staff could "treat as a priority the discharge of patients".

The CQC has confirmed that it raised a "small number of safeguarding concerns" with the hospital. One involved a patient's note detailing that an invasive procedure had been carried out when the patient could not give their consent.

But the CQC is refusing to give any more details about safeguarding issues, saying that its latest report on the hospital was due and that further inspections at the trust would be carried out.

Liberal Democrat MP for Colchester Sir Bob Russell called the decision to declare a major incident "very worrying".

He said: “"We've had 18 months of problems at Colchester General Hospital, the former chief executive, chairman and numerous members of the board have all gone, there's a new team in there and I'm hoping that they will turn it around.

"There's no criticism here of the front-line medical staff and support staff. The criticism I have is of the management historically and I'm just hoping the new management team are going to sort it out, but clearly this is very worrying."

In July the hospital was given an overall rating of "requires improvement".

Wednesday's inspection focussed on the hospital's accident and emergency department and emergency assessment unit.

  • According to the Department of Health, in the NHS, a major incident is: "Any occurrence that presents serious threat to the health of the community, disruption to the service, or causes, or is likely to cause, such numbers or types, of casualties as to require special arrangements to be implemented by hospitals, ambulance trusts or primary care organisations." Examples of such incidents include serious fire, breakdown of utilities, equipment failure, hospital-acquired infections, violent crime and dealing with contaminated individuals.