Hospital inspectors have raised concerns about patient safety at Dewsbury and District Hospital.
A probe by the health watchdog, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), has concluded that nurses were working under “such pressure” that they could not always give the level of care required.
The CQC visited the hospital in May and June to follow up its inspections of 2014 and 2015, which found a number of breaches in regulations relating to patient care, cleanliness and staffing.
The results of its most recent visits have now been published with many issues still remaining.
Inspectors found staff shortages were still a huge problem, revealing that advised levels were being missed in most areas and were not achieved on any of the medical wards.
The report says: “We found examples of patient safety being compromised as a direct result of low staffing numbers.”
The CQC found incidents were not being investigated and the lessons learned from those that had been, weren’t being shared with staff properly.
At the time of the inspection a huge appointment backlog had developed with a stunning 19,647 patients waiting more than the NHS required three months maximum for a follow up appointment.
The CQC did praise nursing staff for their care and compassion towards patients and relatives and said there was recognition from patients of how hard they were working.
Inspectors noted that overall the culture within the Mid Yorkshire NHS Hospitals Trust had improved since the last inspection and there were “indications of a positive cultural shift.”
An overall rating of “Requires Improvement” has been awarded although the hospital was given the higher “Good” rating for its surgery, childrens, maternity and gynaecology and ‘end of life’ care.
The inspection was done before the controversial reconfiguration of services at Dewsbury was completed.
The scheme to move many acute services to Pinderfields Hospital at Wakefield finished last month.
Hospital chief, Martin Barkley, said the CQC had recognised the “sympathetic engagement with staff and patients around the reconfiguration of some services.”
He said: “The reports clearly show the improvements we have made since the last inspection in 2015, have begun to make a difference, in particular the improvements to safety across the hospital.
“The tangible improvements recognised by the CQC are the result of our thousands of dedicated and hardworking staff who have together driven improvements for patients in their wards, clinics, theatres, laboratories and offices over the last two years.
“The CQC rightly highlight the on-going challenges we face and further improvements we still need to make, such as recruiting and retaining more staff, enabling more patients to access treatment sooner, improving the flow of patients through our hospitals, and making financial savings.
“Encouragingly, these are things we know about and are already working hard to improve, through our on-going improvement plan and as part of efforts to transform how patients are cared for, both in and out of hospital.
“This is a major step forward in our ongoing journey to improve how we care for our patients, their relatives and our staff.
“We have made significant progress which means that our hospitals provide better care for our patients and are better places for our staff to work.”