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15.04.16

Northern Lincolnshire and Goole FT failing to maintain improvements

An NHS trust that was taken out of special measures has been given a ‘requires improvement’ notice after the CQC found it is failing to maintain the improvements.

Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS FT was taken out of special measures in July 2014 after making improvements including recruiting 198 more clinical staff. However, the CQC said that A&E and critical care were still below recommended staffing levels.

There were particular concerns about outpatient treatment at Diana Princess of Wales Hospital and Scunthorpe General Hospital, both of which were rated inadequate.

Professor Sir Mike Richards, the CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, said: “We found that the services in A&E at Scunthorpe, outpatients and surgical services had either not improved or had deteriorated since our last inspection.”

The trust was rated as ‘requires improvement’ in the domains of safe, effective, responsive and well-led, although it was judged ‘good’ for being caring. The CQC said that although the trust had good governance procedures, these were not widely embedded or understood.

The regulator’s report said that there were shortages of nurses at the trust, with two nurses on most wards overnight, one of whom was typically from a nursing bank or agency. This led to delayed care and nurses not being familiar with how the trust worked.

It also said that there was a 30,000 backlog of patients requiring outpatient follow-up and many patients experienced multiple clinical cancellations, although the trust had taken action to review the backlog by the end of 2015.

There was a lack of sufficient specialist staff for dealing with vulnerable patients, including those with dementia and learning disabilities, and staff did not receive learning and feedback from incidents.

The Summary Hospital-led Mortality Indicator for the trust was 111, above the national average of 100, and the trust was a mortality outlier for deaths from acute bronchitis and cardiac dysrhythmias.

The CQC announced a review this week of how all acute, community and mental health trusts learn from the deaths of vulnerable patients, following the scandal at Southern Health FT.

They also raised health and safety concerns about the Scunthorpe emergency room, including ligature points which could be used by suicidal patients and a lack of accessibility for patients on trolleys.

They said that Northern Lincolnshire and Goole must immediately ensure sufficient numbers of staff and address the patient backlog.

Karen Jackson, CEO of the trust, said: “This is a report into an inspection that took place nearly six months ago. The CQC’s own standards recommend such reports are published within 50 working days of the inspection so that the reports are as current and useful as possible to service providers and patients. As our patients and staff would expect, the Trust has already taken significant steps to address the issues identified at the inspections, some of which took place as long ago as October 2015."

(Image c. Calendar News)

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