Hospitals trust still has 'a great deal of work' to do, says health watchdog (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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Hospitals trust still has 'a great deal of work' to do, says health watchdog
A REPORT into emergency care at the trust that runs hospitals around Morecambe Bay has been described as 'worrying and frustrating' by a local MP.
John Woodcock, for Furness, said he welcomed improvements to care but said he thought progress should have been faster.
His comments came after the Care Quality Commission watchdog group criticised the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust (UHMBT) for meeting just seven out of 40 identified areas of concern following an investigation carried out last year.
The report, released this morning into emergency care delivered at Furness General Hospital and the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, states that 30 areas of concern had only been ‘partly met’ while another three were outstanding.
It follows visits to the hospitals in April to follow up an investigation last year.
Mr Furness said: “We should welcome the improvements to emergency care that have been made, but it is worrying and frustrating that progress has not been faster over the last year.
"I am particularly concerned that issues of paediatric care and complaints handling – which have led to real problems for the trust in the past – are among the areas that have not been properly addressed.
“We value our hospital very highly, but there needs to be concerted action from trust management in the light of this report to ensure that this vital area of care is up to scratch.”
The comments were echoed by Malcolm Bower-Brown, CQC's northern regional director.
“There is still a great deal of work to be done to deliver and sustain the further improvements in the safety and effectiveness of services that are required at the trust,” he said.
“We will continue to monitor the trust closely until we are assured the required service improvements are fully embedded and patients are receiving safe and effective services on a sustainable basis.”
The report says the trust must take ‘early action’ to ensure that suitably qualified paediatric staff are available at all times within the A&E departments, improve its complaints handling systems and ‘promote an identity of a fully-merged trust’.
Publication of the follow-up report marks an end to the CQC’s formal investigation into the UHMBT.
Chief executive Jackie Daniel said: “Over the last 12 months, we have made good progress. Staff across the organisation have really come together to improve things for the benefit of our patients.”
The CQC report follows news that the investigation into maternity deaths at Furness General Hospital has taken another step forward.
The ‘terms of reference’ for the investigation have been announced by Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, who hopes it will be complete by next summer.
“The families of those who were harmed or died under the care of the trust have persistently and courageously sought a full and independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding these deaths,” he said The investigation relates to mother and baby deaths and injuries between January 2004 and June 2013.
He explained the investigation would focus primarily on the service by UHMBT and its response to shortcomings identified in reviews between 2010 and 2012.
The investigation will be led by Dr Bill Kirkup CBE, a former associate medical director at the Department of Health, who served on the Hillsborough Independent Panel.
John Cowdall, UHMBT chair, said: “The new trust board will ensure that any new lessons resulting from the investigation are learnt and applied.”
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