PATIENTS were left on a ward without proper washing or catering facilities for days on end when Pinderfields Hospital was too busy to cope.
Health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has blasted Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust for “unacceptable” failings after an unannounced inspection of the Day Surgical Unit.
And it has imposed legal restrictions on the use of the unit.
Inspectors found people were staying for four days or longer on the unit, where there were no inpatient catering facilities.
Only sandwiches and microwave meals were made available for patients.
The lack of washing facilities meant patients were using disposable cardboard bowls, the CQC said.
There was no bedside storage, and patients had to keep their possessions on the floor by their bed.
The unit was being used as part of an escalation policy at Pinderfields when the hospital was receiving more patient admissions than expected.
The CQC has issued a legal notice to prevent patients staying on the unit for more than 23 hours at a time, saying it was being used for longer term care without the proper resources.
Malcolm Bower-Brown, deputy director of the CQC in the North, said: “The failings we witnessed on this unit at Pinderfields Hospital were completely unacceptable.
“CQC took swift action following our inspection to ensure the safety and wellbeing of patients.”
Mid Yorkshire has since made a number of improvements to the unit, including improved catering and the installation of showers.
Stephen Eames, the trust’s interim chief executive, said: “We would like to apologise to any patient whose experience on the Day Surgical Unit may have fallen below the high standards we would expect.
“To our knowledge, no patients have come to harm as a result of an inpatient stay on this unit.”