Elderly patients suffered because there were not enough nurses to care for them on wards at Pinderfields and Dewsbury Hospitals, a report by an NHS watchdog has found.
The Care Quality Commission found that low staffing levels on some wards at the hospitals led to patients being injured from falls and suffering pressure ulcers and infections.
Staff on Gate 41, an elderly ward at Pinderfields, told inspectors said they were tired, morale was low and they were being required to look after too many patients.
The inspectors found that the number of patients on the ward was not safe during their visit, and even had to go and find members of staff themselves to attend to patients.
One patient only ate because the inspectors alerted staff that they had not been given a meal one lunchtime.
“We saw some patients were not receiving the care and attention they required from staff to keep them safe,” the report said.
Care plans were also not completed for some patients, including some who had infections.
The report said: “The shortfalls in the care records put patients at risk of receiving unsafe and inappropriate care and treatment.”
On another elderly ward at the hospital, Gate 42, concerns had been raised about staffing levels in a report to trust bosses two months previously.
The CQC report said: “Examples given of the impact on patient care included increased incidence of pressure ulcers and an increase in MRSA infections.”
At Dewsbury, the inspectors found there had been increases in pressure ulcers and patient falls on Wards Two and Ward Five.
The report said: “Patients have come to harm from falls and patient care and safety has not been maintained.”
There was a risk that sick people were being sent home too early because of targets for discharging patients at Dewsbury.
The report said: “Staff told us patients are discharged before they are ready and staff are bullied to achieve the targets.”
There was also evidence of poor record keeping at both hospitals. In some cases it was not recorded that patients and their next of kin were consulted on decisions about their care.
Many patients praised care at the hospitals during the inspection in May.
Pontefract General Hospital met all the required standards.
But Malcolm Bower-Brown, CQC’s Regional Director for the North said: “The shortfalls at Pinderfields and Dewsbury and District Hospital are a real concern and we have told the trust where immediate improvements need to be made.
“We will continue to monitor the trust closely to ensure that patients receive the service they are entitled to expect”
Mid Yorkshire said improvements had already been put in place at the hospitals and more than 170 nurses had been recruited over the summer.
Chief executive Stephen Eames said: “I apologise personally if this has resulted in even one person receiving poor care and can assure people that we have taken swift and rigorous action to put things right.”