AN action plan is underway to put right failings which led Torbay Hospital to get a critical rating from the health watchdog.

A Care Quality Commission (CQC) report published last month identified a number of failings, including detailed patient records being left unsupervised and patients suffering irreversible sight loss because of long waiting times.

The hospital was told it ‘requires improvement’ overall, the second lowest rating possible, although the report noted that its caring services were ‘outstanding.’

The CQC’s inspection covered medical care, the outpatient department, the emergency department, the diagnostic and imaging service and the trust’s leadership over the summer.

Members of the public board of directors of the Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, discussed a report which said the rating was a ‘fair reflection’ of the issues faced by the hospital.

It said the trust had not expected to keep its previous ‘Good’ rating from its last full inspection 10 years ago, due to financial and operational challenges it had faced since.

The hospital has some of the country’s oldest NHS buildings, and a multi-million-pound redevelopment programme has begun. 

The report continued: ‘We are proud that our people’s commitment to compassionate care is recognised. Our people work tirelessly to provide the best possible care across our hospital, community and adult social care services.’

The trust was given 15 ‘must do’ actions and 36 ‘should do’ actions by the CQC.

The board meeting heard that there were ’clear action plans’ in place.

Chief Nurse Deborah Kelly told the meeting: ‘We have emerged from the pandemic with a new environment that is challenging for everybody.

‘We had, with a heavy heart, anticipated some movement in our rating. We knew the risks we were facing.

‘We have spoken about how we need to work differently, and resolved some of the issues. A number of the must-dos and should-dos have already been actioned.’

And, she said, the CQC had already seen genuine improvements in areas including medical and emergency care.

She said: ‘That’s a testament to the team here.’

The trust’s deputy chief executive Adel Jones added: ‘The inspectors said staff do an amazing job with a sense of pride and good humour, caring for patients in an environment that makes life difficult for them.'