A&E services must be reviewed “as a matter of urgency” - report

A&E at Milton Keynes Hospital has received one of the worst ratings in the country in a new report.

Milton Keynes was criticised by the Care Quality Commission, which regulates healthcare across the country.

The CQC compiled a national patient survey which polled patients who used A&E departments across England and Wales between January and March 2014.

Patients were asked about their experience of care and treatment, and Milton Keynes finished seventh in a list of trusts whose scores were graded “Worse than expected”.

The CQC stated: “All trusts listed in table 4 (including Milton Keynes) must review their performance as a matter of urgency to ensure that they deliver good quality A&E services across the areas included in this survey.”

This is the second time in a fortnight that A&E services have been criticised by an official body.

Last month health watchdog Monitor said that the hospital had “failed to fully address concerns” about both its finances and A&E.

As a result hospital chiefs were told to develop and implement a new plan to address A&E problems, such as patients waiting longer than four hours to be seen.

Health services across Bedford and Milton Keynes are currently being reviewed, with the possibility that one site will see a significant downgrade of A&E services. Although Milton Keynes currently has plans for a new £21million A&E department the government has said it will not take any decisions until the MK/Bedford review is completed.

Hospital bosses admitted improvements were needed and asked for patients to come forward to help.

Jane Naish, deputy chief nurse and head of quality, said: “Making sure patients feel listened to, well-informed, valued and respected as individuals is really important to us, and it’s clear to see that we still have improvements to make.

“We have been doing a lot of work to improve patient experience in A&E, including investment to improve the space and facilities available.

“To help us continue to improve and make sure patients have the best experience possible in our A&E department, and across the hospital, we are also asking patients to give us their ideas on how we can make their time with us as positive as it can be.

“We are putting together a patient experience group and would ask any interested patients, carers or members of the community to contact us if they would like to get involved.

“Anyone who is interested to find out more or get involved in the patient experience group should email communications@mkhospital.nhs.uk”

Andrew Pakes, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Milton Keynes South, said: “This latest report is yet another warning sign of the huge pressures facing the hospital as it tries to manage growing demand and budget constraints. Milton Keynes is a growing new city yet funding for essential services is failing to keep up with this demand. The hospital team are doing a great job improving patient care but they need the tools from government to do the job.

“There is a clear consensus locally that we need a bigger A&E to keep up with extra demands on Milton Keynes Hospital. The only obstacle appears to be the ongoing health review. We have already spent £5million ‘reviewing’ local health services, with no change for patients. Recent improvements to A&E are welcome but there are only a short-term fix whilst we wait for the green light on the new unit.

“How many warning signs do the government need before they listen to local concerns and bring forward the investment we need for a new A&E? The Citizen has been running a good campaign but Ministers should step in and make a decision now so that Milton Keynes Hospital can get the investment we desperately need. We have had a lot of talk; we need a bit of action now.”

The full report can be read at www.cqc.org.uk/provider/RD8/survey/4#undefined

What has been your experience of A&E at Milton Keynes Hospital? Comment below or email editorial@mkcitizen.co.uk