A YORK hospital trust has again been told it needs to improve by a health watchdog.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) visited York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust as part of its planned inspection programme in June, focusing on Scarborough and Bridlington hospitals. A well led review and a use of resources assessment were also completed.

The CQC rated the trust as 'requires improvement' in the safe and well-led categories of the report, and 'good' for the effective, caring and responsive part of the report. It gave the trust an overall rating of 'requires improvement'. It was previously told it requires improvement following a CQC inspection in September 2017.

Scarborough Hospital was rated as 'requires improvement' overall. But Scarborough Hospital’s maternity services and Bridlington Hospital achieved a rating of 'good' overall, demonstrating improvement since the last inspection. York Hospital and the trust’s community services were not re-inspected and retain their rating of 'good'.

At Scarborough, safety was identified as inadequate in the emergency department and medicine. The report says that the hospital must also ensure it has enough, suitably qualified, competent and experienced medical and nursing staff in its urgent and emergency care service at Scarborough Hospital, including enough staff who are able to treat children in an emergency care setting.

James Taylor, the trust’s medical director, said: “Our recruitment challenges are well documented and we recognise the CQC’s concerns regarding staffing.

“Following feedback from the CQC we responded with a number of immediate actions including increasing the number of doctors on shift overnight.

“Our medical recruitment position has improved, and the vacancy rate has halved since the summer of 2018.”

Heather McNair, chief nurse at the trust, added: “In response to the CQC’s observations we have reviewed nurse staffing levels on key medical wards, and have increased the number of nurses in these areas in line with the CQC’s recommendations.

“We have recruited more nurses this year than last year, with 60 new nurses joining us in the coming months.

“We continue to have agency staff supporting our wards - however the report acknowledges that staffing levels and skill mix are regularly reviewed, and that bank and agency staff are given a full induction when they arrive on site.”

Simon Morritt, trust chief executive, said: “The efforts of staff shine through in this report, and every area without exception is rated as good for caring. It is pleasing to see that Scarborough’s maternity services, and Bridlington Hospital overall, have seen improvements since the last inspection and are now rated as good. Whilst there is much for staff to be proud of in this report, the CQC has also identified a number of areas for improvement.

"The areas highlighted by the CQC mirror our own priorities, and we are working hard to address them, both in the immediate and longer term.

“It is now widely acknowledged that small, rural hospitals have their own unique challenges, and we are actively working as part of a national network to help develop solutions for this.

“Our recruitment picture is improving, and we have longer-term plans for the site which include a £40 million investment in Scarborough’s emergency department to help transform how we assess and treat emergency patients.”