Four Private Hospitals in Breach of Guidelines

{mosimage} More than half of Scotland’s private hospitals have been found to be breaching national guidelines during inspections. Four of the country’s seven independent hospitals were judged to be falling short in areas such as staff checks, fire safety and medicine control during inspections during the past year. Inspections by the Care Commission, the standards watchdog, revealed problems at Glasgow Nuffield Hospital, Fernbrae Hospital Dundee, Abbey Kings Park, Stirling, and the Murrayfield Bupa in Edinburgh, all private hospitals offering a range of services for patients paying for treatment.

Inspectors found that although patients were happy with the service they received, there were flaws in each of the hospitals and ordered them to make improvements.

The Care Commission found a catalogue of failings at the Abbey Kings Park, which provides 21 beds for general and plastic surgery. In November 2005, inspectors found that child protection checks were not carried out on all staff caring for patients’ children and there was no formal system of staff supervision in place.

The inspectors recommended that managers increased staffing levels in the outpatient department, called for a review of procedures for disposing of human tissue waste from operations, recommended a review of its procedures for the requisitioning of controlled drugs and warned that medication prescribed on a patient’s chart was difficult to read.

An unannounced inspection of the Glasgow Nuffield Hospital in August last year, which has 33 beds for acute surgery, medicine and paediatrics also uncovered a number of problems.

Inspectors ordered the hospital to manage its medication better by writing prescriptions more clearly and recommended that it review all its policies and procedures relating to the management of medicine.

The watchdog also warned the hospital to record employee references in detail to ensure that all the required checks had been made before a new member of staff began working there.

During a two-day visit to the Fernbrae Hospital in Dundee in May 2005, inspectors reported that patients expressed “positive opinions” on their care and treatment.

However, there were issues with “ambiguity in relation to treatment costs”.

Inspectors also found that sharps bins – containing discarded needles – in the outpatient department were being stored at a height accessible to children and ordered the hospital to take immediate action.

And in an unannounced visit to Bupa Murrayfield Hospital in Edinburgh on March, 23, 2006, inspectors found that some staff were not fully aware of the action to be taken on how to report a fire.

A spokesman for the Care Commission said: “Where practice or procedures are found not to be in line with the National Care Standards we will make recommendations, requirements and, where necessary, take enforcement action to regulate for improvement in these services.”

Both the Nuffield and Fernbrae hospitals last night refused to comment on the reports.

A spokeswoman for the Murrayfield Bupa said it was “delighted” to have been given a “clean bill of health” and said staff were now fully aware of fire procedures.

A spokeswoman for the Abbey Kings Park said: “We were not too unhappy with the report, but we strive to improve on any constructive criticism given.”