Exclusive: Salford Royal’s A&E declared unsafe after surprise inspection
What happened when the hospital got a visit from the Care Quality Commission on Monday
Dear Millers — in today’s edition, we break an important story about Salford Royal hospital. We’ve been told that on Monday, inspectors from the Care Quality Commission arrived unannounced and found an A&E department that was on its knees. By the time they left, they told staff the department was unsafe and required immediate improvement. More on that below.
Also in this edition:
Two photographers capture the changes on Rusholme’s Curry Mile over a six-year period.
We set you up for the weekend with a great list of To Dos, including the 50th carnival in Alexandra Park.
As always, our Thursday editions are for Mill members — regular Millers can just read the top of the email. Join up now to read the whole edition and support all our journalism to boot, for £7 a month or just £1.30 a week if you pay for a year upfront.
Mill news briefing
Avanti West Coast is flailing. On Monday the train operator announced, without consultation, that they’d be cutting services in and out of the capital. Usually, it runs 400 services a week, mostly relying on the goodwill of drivers working overtime. Now it is running fewer than 50, and has described drivers not working on their days off as “unofficial strike action”. On Tuesday Andy Burnham and Bev Craig wrote to transport secretary Grant Shapps, demanding that services be reinstated or else Avanti’s contract be withdrawn. According to this morning’s FT, the government is continuing to make contract payments in full to Avanti, which has prompted further anger. It seems the government doesn't want train companies to bend to strikes, even when those strikes are “unofficial” (staff taking their contractual days off).
Back in the world of real strikes, the latest pay offer from the bus company Arriva to striking drivers has left them with “no option” but to continue industrial action, says the GMB Union and Unite. Members in the North West have been on strike since July, so this will mark the third consecutive week that there have been no Arriva bus services operating in Greater Manchester. ANW, which owns Arriva, offered workers an initial 8.5% pay increase, which was then adjusted to 8.9% with a one-off payment of £250. George Patterson, GMB’s regional organiser, called the offer “trifling” and said his members were "facing the worst cost of living crisis for a generation" and a "real terms pay cut will not cut it".
The University of Manchester has launched an investigation into the work of one of its PhD students, who seems to have spent three months masturbating to erotic Japanese comics featuring underage boys. Karl Andersson wanted to understand how fans of shota — a form of self-published erotica that features “young boy characters in a cute or, most often, sexually explicit way” — think about identity and desire. But he “hit a wall in my research” and decided to take matters into his own hands. Questions have been raised as to how the paper passed peer review, especially as a quick Google search reveals that Andersson was the founder of Destroyer, a Swedish gay magazine that wanted "to bring back the adolescent boy as one of the ideals of gay culture.”
In our latest podcast, which came out this morning, we discuss the situation at Salford Royal, why the Conservative leadership candidates disagree about how to tackle the energy price crisis, and what’s happening with Avanti West Coast.
And finally, a fresh heatwave is upon us. The Met Office has issued an amber warning for extreme heat and expects highs of 31° today and the same tomorrow. Plus: new research led by the University of Manchester says the record temperatures will mean an exceptionally high risk of wildfires.
Exclusive: Salford Royal’s A&E declared unsafe as inspectors find a department struggling to cope
On Monday, inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) visited Salford Royal Hospital. It was an unannounced visit, the first at the hospital since 2018. Back then, the hospital’s emergency services were rated as “good”, but this visit was less successful. “It did not go well,” one source told us. By the end, the inspectors told staff that the department was unsafe and recommended immediate action.
When contacted about this by The Mill, a CQC spokesperson said its report would be released in due course, but they did not deny the key details we put to them. They told us: “We can’t give any details of the findings until they are published in the report.” Salford Royal declined to comment on our story, saying they want to wait for the report to be published.
We’ve been told that inspectors found crowded corridors and patients waiting for 90 minutes just to see a triage nurse, six times longer than the target of 15 minutes. "In that period of time, no one knows how well or unwell the patient is,” an A&E nurse told The Mill. “So no clinician has set eyes on the patient yet. And the inspectors said: 'this is something you need to change. Now.’"
At one point, we’ve been told, the pressure on staff was so great that an inspector had to comfort a nurse who had broken down crying.
Monday is often an A&E department's busiest day, but a member of staff says it wasn’t unusually busy on the day the CQC arrived. In other words, the problems that the inspectors encountered were fairly typical of the kind of pressures the hospital has been under in recent months. “In my experience, it is like this every shift,” one source told us.
Analysis: What’s going on in A&E?
What the CQC inspectors found at Salford Royal is concerning, especially for people who rely on the hospital — but it’s also not a huge surprise. Many A&E departments are under severe pressure at the moment, driven by a range of factors that we have been trying to understand by interviewing hospital staff and experts in recent days. When we spoke to a consultant at a different local A&E, he said recent media reports have, if anything, understated the issue: “Things are really really bad,” he said. “And it’s the summer.”