THE Care Quality Commission (CQC) has raised "serious concerns" about Croydon's Urgent Care Centre. The unit, which is attached to the A&E department at Croydon University Hospital, is run by Virgin Care and sees patients when they first arrive at the hospital. During an inspection of the trust as a whole in September, CQC inspectors were given details of two patients whose conditions may have worsened because staff took too long to assess them. Adults who walk into the emergency department report to reception which is run by Virgin Care staff. People with certain conditions (chest pain, for example) should be sent straight through to A&E. Other people must be assessed by a Virgin Care professional within 20 minutes. The CQC highlighted serious incidents where the condition of two patients worsened, potentially as a result of waiting more than 20 minutes. "We were so concerned about the potential impact of this on patient safety that we ordered an urgent inspection of the Urgent Care Centre," the hospital report said. "Although Croydon University Hospital staff are trying hard to work in collaboration with the other provider, the provision of care was not safe." The report, published on Thursday, added: "Most of the staff we talked to said this provision of care for adults is not safe. "If patients are not assessed in 20 minutes, some patients who require rapid tests and interventions to prevent their condition from deteriorating may not receive them promptly. "Staff also said they were wrongly sent to the urgent care centre instead of A&E." A previous CQC inspection, in July, said people using the service were not being given appropriate information in relation to their care and treatment. It also highlighted the possibility of patients being wrongly assessed and thus put at risk of serious illness or injury. The findings of the latest inspection have yet to be published.
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