MORE nurses are needed at Alder Hey Children's Hospital and services must improve, inspectors say.

Alder Hey, which is currently being rebuilt on its site in Liverpool, provides healthcare for children from across the north west, including St Helens.

England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals says the hospital 'requires improvement' overall following the Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection, although some services have been rated 'outstanding' or 'good'.

A team of 41 people including doctors, nurses, CQC inspectors and analysts carried out the inspection in May.

The Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said: “We came across numerous examples of staff going the extra mile to care for and treat children and young people in a highly personalised and sensitive way.

“However I am concerned that shortages of nurses in some departments may affect patient care. While there have been moves to improve the recruitment process, the trust must continue to make this a priority.

“Our judgement is that this is a good hospital in many ways – but the issues which we have identified are preventing it from achieving excellence.”

Inspectors found that services were delivered by hard-working, caring staff who also treated parents and carers with compassion and support at what can be very difficult times. But the wards were not always adequately staffed and, initially, inspectors found that there were not enough senior doctors available on the high dependency unit.

They also said outpatients needed to improve its records provision and reduce patients' waiting times.

In response to the rating, Louise Shepherd, chief executive of Alder Hey, said: "We are reassured that the CQC did not highlight any issues that we weren’t already aware of and aiming to improve upon, some of which have now been resolved.

"In the last year we have invested over £1 million in additional nursing staff and 37 new nurses have been appointed just this month."

Rick Turnock, acting medical director at Alder Hey, said: "Together with the CQC, we remain confident that we are offering an overall safe service to our patients and families but we recognise that improvements need to be seen in some areas such as recruitment, outpatients and our future plans for our high dependency unit.

"At the time of inspection, solutions had already been put in place in these areas and the trust is currently developing an action plan in response to all of the recommendations within the CQC report."

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