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Hospital pledged to improve working environment

Hospital pledged to improve working environment

A hospital has committed to bringing about changes which will ensure the safety of staff.

Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust commissioned an independent review after it came to light that it had failed to act on the findings of a routine air quality test.

The test report said that there were potentially high levels of nitrous oxide – or Entonox – in the air at Basildon Hospital’s maternity unit.

While higher levels of Entonox are safe in the short term – so people giving birth in the unit were never at risk – prolonged exposure can lead to health issues and immediate changes should have made to ensure that staff were safe.

Chief Executive, Matthew Hopkins said: “While we now have robust systems in place and are confident that nitrous oxide levels are well within the safe limits, it is simply not acceptable that we took so long to act.

“We committed to commissioning an independent investigation to fully understand what went wrong and how we could ensure that it doesn’t happen again.”

Good Governance Improvement carried out this review and the Trust has now received the report which can be accessed here:

Matthew added: “It confirmed that the main cause of the failure to act on the initial air quality report was weak governance processes and they have recommended that we carry out a full governance review. That has now been commissioned.”

Other findings included problems with the management of medical gases, a lack of stability in leadership, lack of openness and honesty when it came to the review itself, and a need for more resources in occupational health.

The Trust is now developing a detailed action plan that addresses all of the recommendations made in the report and will regularly update on progress.

Matthew said: “I would like to sincerely apologise to the staff in the unit and thank them for their patience and their unwavering commitment to the families who use our maternity service.”

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