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Cumbrian hospitals rated among worst in the country by staff

North Cumbria’s hospitals have been rated among the worst in the country by the staff who work there.

Neil Goodwin photo
Dr Neil Goodwin

Responses from staff at the Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland Hospital to a national satisfaction survey ranked the hospitals in the bottom 20 per cent.

A large proportion said they would not recommend North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust as a place to work or receive treatment.

Many also raised concerns about the fairness and effectiveness of incident reporting.

Unions say this backs up their claims that cost-cutting across the Carlisle and Whitehaven is putting patients at risk – something that has always been strongly denied by chief executive Neil Goodwin.

Estephanie Dunn, from the Royal College of Nursing, said: “It crystallises what we’ve been saying for the past year, yet the trust has been in complete denial. We have simply repeated what our members are telling us, yet Dr Goodwin is not interested in anything we have to say. But these figures can’t be denied.

“A lot of these ratings are very alarming, especially when it places the trust in the bottom 20 per cent. Things like work pressures, staff anxieties about the quality of care they can deliver, morale.

“It’s not enough to say staff are at fault because they can’t cope with change. I speak to staff all the time who are having leave cancelled, being called in on days off and going without breaks – that is just not sustainable.”

The key findings of the survey revealed more than 20 areas where the trust was in the worst 20 per cent nationally and many others where scores were below average.

The areas that had deteriorated most since the previous year were work pressures, the percentage of staff feeling satisfied with the quality of patient care, support from immediate managers and motivation. Communication from senior management was also among the worst.

However there were some positives, including the percentage of staff using flexible working and the percentage who had witnessed potentially harmful errors or near misses at the time of the survey.

A trust spokeswoman said: “The Trust recognises that over the last year, there have been challenges across the NHS and the public sector as a whole.

“Our trust is also undergoing an acquisition which is unsettling and we have a very challenging cost improvement programme to deliver.

“The 2011 NHS National Staff Survey was sent out towards the end of last year to around 850 randomly selected members of staff out of the 4,000 employed by the trust and there was a 58% response rate.

“The trust is committed to working hard to improve things for both our staff and patients.

“A series of roadshows across both hospitals were conducted last year where we have talked about the results of our previous staff survey and discussed how we could improve things going forward.

“We want to encourage staff to get involved and it is hoped that the creation of staff focus groups will provide an arena for feedback. Within these focus groups, the specific issues raised will be explored and plans established in order to improve on these particular areas.

“Staff who attended the roadshows last year and indicated that they would be willing to help with this process will be contacted in due course.”

But Ms Dunn said that the RCN now wants to see more than just action plans – it wants to see regular reviews to show that these actions are showing real results. She added that Northumbria Healthcare – who are soon to take over the running of north Cumbria’s hospitals – had much better satisfaction rates. She therefore wants to see these issues addressed as part of the takeover.

Have your say

to many chefs and not enough indians

Posted by orthapedic waller on 29 March 2012 at 18:11

Some people are blaming the Conservative/Libdem coalition government for the state of the NHS in our region whilst failing to point out the privatisation started under the Labour partys stewardship. Who left the hospitals with years of Mortgage payments they cannot afford through PFI? I'll give you a clue... most are now retired and millionaires and the red rose they proudly wore in parliament is nowhere to be seen.

Posted by Craig on 27 March 2012 at 09:40

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