Hospitals inspector calls for Trust to be placed in special measures: 'I do not believe that you are likely to resolve your challenges without support'

The Westmorland Gazette: Sir Mike Richards Sir Mike Richards

THE country’s top hospital inspector is calling for the troubled Morecambe Bay hospitals trust to be placed in ‘special measures’.

Professor Sir Mike Richards said the trust should be put on an emergency plan, which could include intervention by health watchdog Monitor or it being ‘buddied up’ with another trust.

“There is a long history of concern with the quality of service provided by the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust so it is disappointing to report that a number of the issues that have been identified in the past remain unresolved,” said Prof Richards.

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“I do not believe that the trust is likely to resolve its challenges without external support. This is why I am recommending that the trust is placed in to special measures.”

The call comes after a damning report, leaked to the Gazette last week and published today, revealed the trust to be operating at an ‘inadequate’ level.

The report followed an inspection carried out in February at Westmorland General Hospital (WGH), Furness General Hospital (FGH) and the Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI), by regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

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According to a statement released by the hospital trust, the Kendal site was given an overall ‘good’ rating, but both RLI and FGH were found to ‘require improvements’.

Medical care at RLI was found to be inadequate.

This morning, Jackie Daniel, chief executive of the trust, said she was ‘incredibly disappointed’ by news that the trust now faces crisis measures.

However, she said it ‘isn’t an overnight job to change the culture of a large and complex organisation’.

“I believe that ‘special measures’ will provide the trust with focused support to make further change in a number of core areas and we welcome this assistance,” she said.

“We will use these reports as the springboard for further, positive improvement.”

The Gazette reported last week how inspectors found several issues during their time with the trust – which serves around 365,000 people – including staffing difficulties which had put patients at risk of ‘avoidable harm’, more ‘never events’ than similar trusts, problems with outpatient appointments and concerns that staff felt disengaged and ‘remote’ from the executive team.

John Hutton, acting chair of the trust, welcomed the ‘package of support’ the trust will be offered.

“It is important that we don’t lose sight of the good work that has taken place so far and this further support will ensure that we don’t take our eyes off the ball and continue to move forward.”

Dr Hugh Reeve, a Grange GP and chair of the Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group, also expressed his disappointment at the news.

But he said: “Today's report highlights the urgent need for this work to continue to ensure patients receive the best standards of care for generations to come.”

Several areas were found to be ‘good’ including maternity care at WGH, intensive care at RLI and A&E at both FGH and RLI.

The Care Quality Commission has now presented its findings to a local ‘quality summit’, which will develop a plan of action.

“We have found a lack of clarity about the trust's plans for the future,” said Prof Richards.

“The trust and partner agencies will be developing an action plan to address the identified shortfalls and my inspectors will return to the trust to follow up on improvements in due course.”

Comments (1)

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3:14pm Fri 27 Jun 14

davidearnshaw says...

This really is / has been disappointing news ----- especially after "the new management team" formed 3yrs ago promised big things ---- but then "Rome was not built in a day". Born and brought up in Kendal and then worked in General Practice and Out of Hours Primary Care in South Cumbria / Lakes for 45yrs now ---- I have seen many changes across our local Health Services ---- all seemed to be ticking along quite nicely, with most being satisfied with services until Tony Halsall and Management team decided to move Acute Medical Services and some not so serious A & E situations to Lancaster without establishing beyond doubt that Lancaster could cope with the extra load --- they were warned by many of us who knew, that Lancaster was not ready, that this would cause major problems for Lancaster -- the management concocted statistics to say that bed / ward numbers at Lancaster could even be reduced !!! --- unbelievable !! ----- chaos ensued, morale at Lancaster dropped to an all time low ---- pressures on Staff were severe --- management did not listen ---- Ambulances were having to queue outside A& E for long periods of time before patients could be off loaded into a ward or A & E ---- a "corridor nurse" was appointed to monitor patients' waiting on trolleys outside A & E ------ I do not think Lancaster has ever yet fully recovered from that disastrous time ---- some improvements have more recently been made, but with the ever increasing demand from the public for attendances at A & E departments, it would appear to be 2 steps forward and one step back. Any suggestions now of transferring more services out of Westmorland General to still an unprepared Lancaster, has to be resisted; Westmorland General has the location and space to expand, with some services returned to Kendal and new ones such as Radiotherapy established and as a local population we must demand in broad terms that this happens, which will relieve pressure on Lancaster. I would like to point out to everyone, that The 2 Langdale Wards and the "front of house" Primary Care Assessment Service --- formerly the Minor Accidents and Emergencies Dept at Westmorland General Hospital are NOT under the management of The Hospitals Trust, and therefore DO NOT come under this recent CQC critical and poor report about the Morecambe Bay Hospitals Trust --- they are under the management of The Cumbria Partnership Trust -- a completely separate organisation which rents the wards and the PCAS Department space from the Hospitals Trust.
Let us hope that the "special measures" which are to be applied to the Hospitals Trust, do, along with probably some new finances, bring about the changes necessary.
This really is / has been disappointing news ----- especially after "the new management team" formed 3yrs ago promised big things ---- but then "Rome was not built in a day". Born and brought up in Kendal and then worked in General Practice and Out of Hours Primary Care in South Cumbria / Lakes for 45yrs now ---- I have seen many changes across our local Health Services ---- all seemed to be ticking along quite nicely, with most being satisfied with services until Tony Halsall and Management team decided to move Acute Medical Services and some not so serious A & E situations to Lancaster without establishing beyond doubt that Lancaster could cope with the extra load --- they were warned by many of us who knew, that Lancaster was not ready, that this would cause major problems for Lancaster -- the management concocted statistics to say that bed / ward numbers at Lancaster could even be reduced !!! --- unbelievable !! ----- chaos ensued, morale at Lancaster dropped to an all time low ---- pressures on Staff were severe --- management did not listen ---- Ambulances were having to queue outside A& E for long periods of time before patients could be off loaded into a ward or A & E ---- a "corridor nurse" was appointed to monitor patients' waiting on trolleys outside A & E ------ I do not think Lancaster has ever yet fully recovered from that disastrous time ---- some improvements have more recently been made, but with the ever increasing demand from the public for attendances at A & E departments, it would appear to be 2 steps forward and one step back. Any suggestions now of transferring more services out of Westmorland General to still an unprepared Lancaster, has to be resisted; Westmorland General has the location and space to expand, with some services returned to Kendal and new ones such as Radiotherapy established and as a local population we must demand in broad terms that this happens, which will relieve pressure on Lancaster. I would like to point out to everyone, that The 2 Langdale Wards and the "front of house" Primary Care Assessment Service --- formerly the Minor Accidents and Emergencies Dept at Westmorland General Hospital are NOT under the management of The Hospitals Trust, and therefore DO NOT come under this recent CQC critical and poor report about the Morecambe Bay Hospitals Trust --- they are under the management of The Cumbria Partnership Trust -- a completely separate organisation which rents the wards and the PCAS Department space from the Hospitals Trust. Let us hope that the "special measures" which are to be applied to the Hospitals Trust, do, along with probably some new finances, bring about the changes necessary. davidearnshaw
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