Ulster Hospital hits back at critical inspection report
THE Ulster Hospital has moved to defend itself following a damning inspection report about staffing levels and morale.
The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) called on the hospital to recruit more nurses, free up staff to attend training and improve patient care records.
The report was carried out following an inspection at two wards and the hospital's A&E department in February.
Although it praised caring and courteous staff, it raised concerns about staff levels.
Olive Macleod, RQIA's chief executive, said inspectors recognised that an increase in admissions had put pressure on staff and impacted on "effective and compassionate care".
"However, it is vitally important that this continues to be delivered - even at times of such pressures," she said.
In a statement, the South Eastern Trust said it "welcomed the findings" adding the recommendations were "helpful."
It said: "Many of the concerns raised by the inspection team were issues that we were already aware of and were working to address."
The statement said that there were "however, a number of factors which are relevant to this report and said it had been "carried out on one of the busiest weeks of the year, when all hospitals were under extreme pressure. There is a well recognised capacity issue within the Ulster Hospital."
The hospital said that next year a move was due into a new ward block where there would be 100 per cent single room accommodation and ensuite facilities.
It also claimed that it was working to improve patient flows at its A&E where there was a "five per cent increase in attendance" year on year.