PATIENT safety and dignity, including for children, are among the major concerns raised by the health watchdog about hospitals across north Hampshire.

Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors have ordered the Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Andover War Memorial Hospital, Basingstoke hospital and Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester, to improve standards in a number of areas as a matter of urgency.

After an inspection carried out between June and July this year, six main areas where the trust needs to improve to meet the watchdog’s standards have been identified.

These include making sure that at least one member of staff is available each shift who is trained in advanced paediatric life support, that an effective system is in place to assess and monitor ongoing care and treatment to patients while in emergency departments, and that children and young people are cared for in an environment which is tailored to meet and protect their needs.

Hampshire Hospitals has said that it recognises the issues the CQC has raised and is already working to remedy them.

The inspectors did also praise the good care of the trust, in particular its dementia services and cancer services for pseudomyxoma.

In the report, inspectors found that patients’ privacy and dignity was not always protected.

During the inspection, patients were found being treated in corridors without access to a patient call bell and they found it difficult to get help from the nursing staff when it was required. It was also found patients did not have access to screens, closed doors, or curtains to allow for privacy during treatment.

Chief inspector of hospitals at the CQC, professor Ted Baker, said: “Since our last inspection, Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has not sustained the momentum and embed the improvements that we saw at that inspection. As a result of this, the trust’s overall rating has moved from ‘good’ to ‘requires improvement.’

“We have now made it clear to the trust where it must take action to improve and have placed urgent conditions on the trust’s registration to ensure these improvements do take place.

“We will remove those conditions when we are satisfied that the trust has made sufficient progress to provide the quality of services that its patients are entitled to expect.”

Overall, the CQC has rated the trust overall as ‘requires improvement’, with the trust retaining its rating of ‘outstanding’ for end-of-life care from a previous inspection.

Chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Alex Whitfield, said: “I am glad that the inspectors recognised the dedication and compassion of our staff. I see this around our hospitals every day.

“However, it is disappointing that there are a number of areas where our services are not consistently at the standard we would want for our patients. We take the safety of our patients and their care very seriously and we have already made changes responding to the conditions highlighted by the inspectors and have further improvements planned.

“We will continue to work tirelessly to put patient care and safety at the heart of everything we do.

“We have already changed the emergency department layout so that patients waiting are more visible to clinical teams ,and can be more easily observed. We have also increased the frequency of checks on patients so that we can pick up more quickly when they are becoming poorly.

“In Andover, we have moved to separate surgical lists for men and women so they are not in the same space at the same time, to ensure that we are doing all we can to protect patient dignity.

“We recognise we have problems with our ageing buildings and this has been thrown most sharply into focus in our emergency departments where we have seen a 25 per cent increase in attendances in recent years.

“We are delighted to have secured £4 million in capital funding from the government to help further improve the layout of our emergency departments and acute assessment units and increase their capacity. We know we are looking after more elderly frail people who are sicker and hence need to be admitted and this has had an impact across the whole trust.”

The CQC also found that the hospital’s leadership board were not always aware of the risks, issues and challenges in the service. This meant that leaders could not implement actions to address issues and reduce the risk of patient harm.