News

10.06.14

Chair steps down at troubled Morecambe Bay trust

The chair of the troubled University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, John Cowdall, has decided to step down.

In a statement released today, he said: “In my time here, I have seen the trust under the sterling leadership of Jackie Daniel and the new Board of Directors guide our hospitals through a significant period of change and improvement.

“We all know that much remains to be done but by working together with our Governors, volunteers and various partners, I am confident that the trust will move quickly to where it needs to be.”

Last year, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out a review at the trust after a 2012 investigation raised a number of concerns about the provision of emergency services at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Furness General Hospital.

On the follow-up visit, the team found evidence of improvement in the safety and quality of care across the emergency care pathway. In addition, they saw that governance and management systems had been strengthened at trust and departmental level.

However, it was concerned about the sustainability of this improvement and further work was needed to address 33 recommendations that remained unmet or only partially met. In particular, the CQC stated that the trust must take early action to:

  • Ensure that suitably qualified and experienced paediatric staff are available at all times within the A&E department.
  • Improve its complaints handling systems to make sure that complaints are responded to fully and in a timely manner, demonstrating that changes to practice have been introduced as a result.
  • Ensure a cultural change programme is in place across the organisation that promotes an identity of a fully merged trust.

In early 2014, the CQC stated that it had found improvements in maternity services run by the trust, but has told the trust that action is needed to increase staffing levels on a medical ward at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

Cowdall will remain as chairman until 30 June 2014. But the deputy chairman, John Hutton, will now start to take over his responsibilities until a successor has been appointed.

The outgoing chairman added: “By the end of this month, the trust will have prepared its plans for Better Care Together and I believe that this is now the right time for me to hand over to a new person to lead the Board and Council of Governors in the delivery phase of this work programme.  

“As a final request to you all, I ask that you continue to support Jackie and her team as we enter the next stage of our journey with Better Care Together. The trust will only succeed with everyone working together.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@nationalhealthexecutive.com

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