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The A&E department at Queen’s Hospital, Romford, is still failing to protect the safety and welfare of patients but its maternity department is meeting standards, two Care Quality Commission (CQC) reports released today reveal.

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Under current plans, both maternity and A&E services at King George Hospital in Barley Lane, Goodmayes, are due to transfer to the hospital in Rom Valley Way.

King George’s labour ward will close at the end of March but NHS chiefs have no timetable for the switch of emergency services.

The latest CQC reports were based on unannounced inspections to Queen’s in November and December.

They found that some people who needed to be admitted to the hospital faced a long wait in A&E in conditions which failed to meet their needs.

CQC found that:

• People who required admission to the “majors” area, which treats serious illnesses or injuries, were waiting far too long to be transferred to other parts of the hospital; 5 per cent waited for more than 11 hours.

• Some people were being nursed on trolleys when they needed to be moved into beds. People were at increased risk of pressure sores, dehydration and falls.

• The ‘majors’ area did not have any washing facilities or storage for personal possessions, and didn’t offer people the privacy and dignity they are entitled to. Elsewhere in the department, personal information, including diagnosis, was displayed where anyone, including members of the public, could see it.

• There were not enough consultant or junior doctors in the A&E.

The CQC now plans to legally limit the number of people who can be admitted to the ‘majors’ part of A&E if people already there have been waiting for too long.

Matthew Trainer, CQC’s deputy director in London, said: “Put simply, there are not always enough staff to care for the number of people who are attending the A&E and not enough beds being made available in the rest of the hospital.

“The [Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS] Trust (BHRUT) has acknowledged this and now needs to put all its energies into putting it right.

“The significant improvement we have seen in maternity in the last year, both through our inspections, and through patient surveys which say 96 per cent of women giving birth there would now recommend it to family and friends - is a massive step forward.

“The staff in maternity have worked hard to transform the service.

“We need to see this kind of fundamental transformation in their emergency care.”

On maternity services, the report said women were “unanimous” in saying the care received was of a high standard.

Women were seen more quickly in the triage area, maternity wards had all the correct equipment which was properly maintained and there was sufficient midwifery experience.

Averil Dongworth, BHRUT’s chief executive, apologised to patients who have experienced poor care at Queen’s A&E.

She said: “Improving performance in our emergency departments is the biggest challenge that we face, and is the area that is receiving the most attention from all parts of the organisation.”

On the maternity improvements, the Trust’s director of nursing Flo Panel-Coates said: “I am absolutely delighted that the CQC has recognised the enormous improvements we have made to our maternity services.”

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