CQC recommends that Morecambe Bay Hospitals should come out of special measures

The latest Inspection Report from the CQC published today, reports that University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Trust has made progress in all the areas it identified in its inspection in February 2014.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) says the Trust is no longer rated as inadequate and states that “staff were caring and compassionate, and treated people with dignity and respect.”

As a result of the recent inspection process, Professor Sir Mike Richards, CQC’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, has recommended to health sector regulator Monitor that the Trust be taken out of special measures.

The CQC visited the three main hospitals run by the Trust – Furness General Hospital, Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Westmorland General Hospital – during July 2015. Inspectors reported improvements in leadership, staffing levels, governance, incident reporting, and risk management.

The Report acknowledged that “The Trust had made progress in all the areas we [CQC] identified in our inspection in February 2014”. One particular area singled out for improving was the High Dependency Unit at Furness General Hospital, with the CQC reporting that previous staffing issues in this area had been “comprehensively addressed, and there was sufficient staffing numbers of nurses to meet the needs of patients at all times.”

In recommending that the Trust is taken out of special measures, Professor Sir Mike Richards says in the Report: “It is apparent that the trust is on a journey of improvement and progress is being made both clinically and in the trust’s governance structures.”

Overall, the Trust has received a new rating of ‘requires improvement’, with all services rated as ‘good’ for caring. No services have been rated as ‘inadequate’.

Jackie Daniel, Chief Executive, said: “I am very pleased that the CQC has recognised the progress that has been made since our last inspection, particularly that progress has been made in every area that they previously highlighted as requiring further action.

“The improved rating and recommendation for the Trust to come out of special measures is testament to the hard work and commitment of an incredibly loyal workforce. Our staff, along with our governors, partners, volunteers and the public have worked hard together to make the change needed, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their continued support.

“We have a talented and professional workforce and the rating of ‘good’ for being ‘caring’ is recognition of this. Over the last year we have seen many successes, including staff and teams shortlisted for, and winning national awards. But, we mustn’t be complacent; we still have a lot of work to do to ensure we provide consistently high standards of care across all of our services. We must continue to seek out every opportunity to make improvements to achieve our ambition of being an ‘outstanding’ Trust.”

The Report also highlighted a number of areas where further work is needed to meet required standards, and the Trust has already begun to address these. The Trust’s Quality Improvement Strategy will include actions and outcomes against every area the CQC has reported that “must” and “should” improve, ensuring that they become embedded in day to day work.

CQC has identified seven areas for further improvements, they have stated these as:

  • The trust must ensure that all premises are suitable for the purpose for which they are being used and properly maintained – particularly physiotherapy services and medical care services provided from Medical Unit One.

  • Enough suitably qualified, competent, skilled and experienced people must be deployed to meet the needs of the patients. Staff should receive appropriate support, training and appraisal.

  • The trust must ensure that staff understand their responsibilities under, and act in accordance with, the requirements of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and associated code of practice.

  • Staff must follow policies and procedures around managing medicines, including intravenous fluids particularly in medical care services and critical care services.

  • Referral to treatment times in surgical specialities must improve.

  • The trust must ensure that the resuscitation trolleys on the children’s ward

    are situated in areas that make them easily accessible in an emergency. All staff must be clear on who has responsibility for the maintenance of the resuscitation trolley on the delivery suite.

  • The trust must ensure that it maintains an accurate, complete and contemporaneous record for each patient.

The Trust is required to submit a comprehensive action plan to the CQC by 27 December 2015. This plan will be regularly updated and displayed on the Trust’s website, as it has done over the last year. Updates regarding the Trust’s work to address the recommendations of the Report of the Morecambe Bay Investigation (Kirkup Report) are published every month on the Trust’s website.

Pearse Butler, Chair, said: “Everyone has pulled together at all levels of the Trust to make continued improvement, which has not only resulted in an improved rating, but also the recommendation that the Trust should come out of special measures.

“I agree with the comments of Professor Sir Mike Richards, Chief Inspector of Hospitals when he says that the Trust is on a journey of improvement and that progress is being made both clinically and in the Trust’s governance structures. There is still a lot more hard work required to make further, sustainable change across our hospitals, and today’s report is recognition that good progress is being made and that we are heading in the right direction.

“I am extremely proud of how our staff, volunteers, governors and partners have worked together as a team to achieve these results. It puts us in a good position as we progress towards achieving even greater results and delivering our new clinical strategy – Better Care Together.”

Lancashire North CCG supports the recommendation 

NHS Lancashire North Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has supported the recommendation to take University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust out of special measures.

Following the release of the latest CQC inspection report into the Trust, commissioners at the CCG are supportive of the recommendation by the Care Quality Commission to remove the conditions imposed almost two years ago.

Andrew Bennett, Chief Officer at Lancashire North CCG, said: “This latest report and the recommendation that the hospital trust be taken out of special measures, demonstrates that the Trust has worked hard to implement improvements in health services throughout the Morecambe Bay area.

“We welcome the recognition that the hospital inspectors have given to the Trust which supports the effectiveness of the plans put into place following the initial inspection in February 2014.

“As commissioners of the services, we are committed to working with partners to continue to ensure better services for local people and this news that the hospital has been taken out of special measures is really positive news for local people.”