Inspection raises ‘serious concerns’ over ‘very poor condition’ of part of Victoria Hospital

An inspection has raised “serious concerns” about the condition of part of Victoria Hospital with a string of requirement given to NHS Fife to complete.
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The older Phase One building was described as in “very poor condition” in a detailed report published by Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) after several visits.

While the hospital was praised for its care overall, inspectors flagged a number of issues requiring attention in the building, and carried out a return visit to check on progress on 60 statutory jobs which had not been completed. The problem areas included damaged wooden surfaces, flooring and walls, with one ward “significantly worse” than other areas,.

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Within it, inspectors found plastic coverings on doors badly broken and sharp with potential to injure patients or staff, damaged wooden surfaces throughout, and a leak from a water pipe in a patient toilet had soaked through the wall leaving broken and wet plaster, creating holes in the wall. The kitchen work surface was badly damaged with exposed black damp patches on the wooden surface.

The inspectors found much to praise, but their focus was on the condition of the older phase of the hospital (Pic: Fife Free Press)The inspectors found much to praise, but their focus was on the condition of the older phase of the hospital (Pic: Fife Free Press)
The inspectors found much to praise, but their focus was on the condition of the older phase of the hospital (Pic: Fife Free Press)

The report stated: “We raised serious concerns about the environment with senior hospital managers who were not aware of the level of disrepair within the ward. We returned to the area during the initial inspection with senior hospital managers and found that initial remedial work had begun, however inadequate precautions had been used to manage built environment infection risks to patients on the ward.”

Further serious concerns were raised to the planned preventative maintenance system to ensure the environment remains safe, fit for purpose and includes testing of safety equipment such as fire doors, smoke dampers and ventilation and water safety testing.

“During discussions with senior managers, a number of points were identified that indicated there was a lack of oversight of this area and a failure of systems and processes relating the built environment,” the report continued. “Senior managers told us this was due to their focus being on the higher pressured areas of the hospital campus. In addition, the planned refurbishment of Phase One had resulted in staff and managers being resigned to the poor condition of the environment until refurbishment had been completed.”

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Overall, the inspection resulted in four areas of good practice, two recommendations and nine requirements - with NHSFife expected to act on the latter.

The HIS team visited a host of wards, and also went to A&E, the children’s ward. The new National Treatment Centre, critical care and renal dialysis to get an overview of the hospital’s operations - and it found much it was more than happy with.

Their report stated: “Patients and visitors were complimentary about staff and the care they provided. The emergency department, despite being busy and over capacity, was calm with staff delivering a good standard of care to patients. Inspectors observed the national treatment centre pathways and flow navigation centre, which were designed to reduce the impact on other services and departments and to ensure the right care is being provided by the right person, in the right place, at the right time. Staff felt supported and listened to by senior managers. Hospital safety briefings were well organised and inclusive.”

It added that the majority of wards were calm and well organised, and inspectors observed good teamwork and leadership - but singled out one for action. Senior managers were already aware of the issues and able to assure the inspectors that additional support was in place for the ward team.

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Janette Keenan, NHS Fife director of nursing, said: “We are pleased that the report of the inspection recognises the efforts of our staff, who in particularly challenging circumstances continue to be responsive to the needs of those in our care. We are also pleased that patients and their loved ones were complimentary about the care they received. A number of improvement actions were also highlighted in the inspection report and work has already began to address and rectify these areas.”

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