Services in Bristol hospitals are battling to cope as a result of staff shortages and increasing demand leading to the cancellation of too many operations and struggling outpatient services, according to a report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Following an inspection in September this year by England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, the quality of services at seven hospitals run by the University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust were investigated, with the trust receiving an overall rating of ‘requires improvement’.

The report stated that patients are waiting too long in A and E and are then not always cared for on the right hospital ward. Medical care, surgery and outpatients were identified as key areas needing improvement, while accident and emergency, critical care, maternity and family planning, end of life care and services for children were rated as ‘good.’

Professor Sir Mike Richards described the hospital staff as ‘caring and committed’ across the trust despite outpatient services ‘struggling to meet the demand for their services.’

Madeleine Pinschof, a senior clinical negligence solicitor based in Thompsons Solicitors’ Bristol office said: “The results of the latest inspections to be carried out on Bristol hospitals shows that, like so many hospitals up and down the country, despite hard working staff trying to deliver the best levels of care to patients, their efforts are constantly undermined by a lack of resources and they are struggling.

“There are clear warning signs to the coalition government that the NHS is buckling under demand pressures, yet it continues to allow patients and staff to bear the brunt of these issues and does little to support them. This has to change if we are to continue to have an NHS that is fit for purpose.”