Emergency departments at two Worcestershire hospitals have been rated “inadequate” after inspectors found patients waiting on trolleys for treatment for too long.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) visited Worcestershire Royal and Alexandra Hospital in December and found A&E departments “overwhelmed”.
It is taking urgent action against the hospital trust to improve services.
A trust spokesman apologised for the waits experienced by patients.
However, during their most recent visit, inspectors found “people waited too long for assessment” and were “treated on corridors too frequently”.
The regulator has imposed restrictions on Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust’s registration to “protect people” and ensure patients were assessed within 15 minutes of arrival.
CQC chief hospital inspector, Prof Ted Baker, said inspectors found ambulance patients at Worcestershire Royal “waited over three hours” for treatment with the longest wait for a bed noted as almost 24 hours.
Overcrowding was the CQC’s “biggest concern” in Alexandra Hospital’s A&E, with the department’s layout leading to queuing in corridors.
It became “overwhelmed quickly, posing a risk to patient safety”, Prof Baker added.
The watchdog said it had raised these issues with the trust in 2015 but found the response “insufficient”.
However, inspectors said they had seen “professional and caring staff who remained cheerful and engaged with patients, even when working under pressure” at both hospitals.
Matthew Hopkins, chief executive of the trust, apologised for the waits, which he recognised occurred “despite the enormous efforts of staff”, adding that the trust was “absolutely committed” to improving.
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