A HEALTH watchdog has found A&E departments in Worcestershire Royal Hospital and Alexandra Hospital, Redditch ‘inadequate.’

A report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found people waited too long for assessment and treatment. They also found patients were treated on corridors too frequently, and not referred to specialists quickly enough.

According to the report: the longest wait for a bed was recorded as 23 hours and 24 minutes; 18 patients were noted to be on trolleys along the main corridors and patient privacy and dignity was not always protected due to overcrowding.

The rating is the worst possible and comes after improvements had seen the trust elevated to requires improvements last May.

In response, Matthew Hopkins, chief executive of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "Despite the enormous efforts of our staff, alongside GPs, community staff and social care, we know that some patients are still waiting too long to get into our emergency departments or are spending too long in the emergency departments waiting to be moved onto a ward. On behalf of the trust and all of our partners across the county, we apologise for this.

The trust went on to say since the report they have increased the numbers of nurses and doctors in A&E departments and will open an additional 33 new beds at both hospital sites.

CQC chief inspector of hospitals, Professor Ted Baker, said: “At Worcestershire Royal Hospital, the trust failed to meet national standards requiring clinical assessment of 95 per cent of ambulance-conveyed patients within 15 minutes of arrival.

“Some people brought by ambulance waited over three hours before being handed over to trust staff for care and treatment. The trust recognised an increase of patients sustaining pressure damage while waiting in Worcestershire Royal Hospital’s emergency department. It had taken action, deploying a tissue viability nurse and introducing pressure-relieving devices. However, patients remained on trolleys for extended periods, due to lack of space in the department for them to be transferred to a more appropriate hospital bed.

“Overcrowding was our biggest concern in Alexandra Hospital’s emergency department. The layout of the department and too few cubicles led to it becoming overwhelmed quickly, posing a risk to patient safety. However, in both departments we saw professional and caring staff who remained cheerful and engaged with patients, even when working under pressure. Interactions were positive and respectful. Leaders and staff were committed to driving improvements to keep people safe and to improve patient experience.

Mr. Hopkins added: “We know there is more our Trust has to do – and we are absolutely committed to doing it.”