Thursday, 26 November 2015

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Keogh review: North Cumbria hospitals trust in special measures

North Cumbria hospitals trust has been placed in 'special measures' following the release of the Keogh report into mortality rates.

Cumberland Infirmary photo
The Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle

Weblink: Report for North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust

Weblink (video with text transcript): Keogh Mortality Review: North Cumbria risk summit

Weblink: The Keogh report

It is one of 11 failing trusts in England that will be partnered with a high-performing NHS organisation for "mentorship and guidance" said health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Mr Hunt cited evidence of poor maintenance at two operating theatres - which were closed immediately - as evidence for the move.

The trust must implement all recommendations of the Keogh review - published this afternoon - and its progress will be tracked and made public by either watchdog Monitor or the Trust Development Authority.

Poor infection control, inadequate staff levels and badly maintained equipment were highlighted as issues within both Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary and the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven.

Keogh accepts that North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust is in the process of being acquired by Northumbria Healthcare Foundation Trust and that “positive changes” have been made over the past six months.

However, it continues: “The extent and pace of change has been insufficient to rectify all weaknesses in governance.”

The report called for the “immediate escalation” of one safety issue relating to the ventilation systems in two orthopaedic operating theatres at the West Cumberland site.

The theatres had to be closed while the trust checked the air flow met regulations.

The review states there were “sustained failings in the governance arrangements to ensure the adequate maintenance of the estate and equipment”.

Other urgent action includes:

  • Improvements in clinical leadership and the organisation’s focus on quality, including developing quality performance reporting
  • Inadequate staffing levels and over-reliance on locum cover in some areas
  • Shortfalls in learning from serious incidents and ‘never’ events
  • Significant weaknesses in infection control and prevention practices

A further “risk summit” will be held in September to follow up on improvements the trust is implementing.

Ann Farrar, interim chief executive of the Cumbrian trust, accepted the findings of the report, but said the time had come to look forward.

“There can be absolutely no excuses for some of the very poor standards that appear to have been accepted as the norm in North Cumbria over several years,” she said.

“It is important, however, that we now, collectively, look to the future and work together on this improvement journey, and I am encouraged that the Keogh Review team have recognised the work the trust has already done.”

Jamie Reed, MP for Copeland and a shadow health minister, praised the review, calling it a “comprehensive piece of work” but insisted it “must lead to improvements in our local health services”.

“[Keogh] points out that we should be proud of the superb care provided by the NHS,” Mr Reed continued, “that improvements must be made rapidly and that Northumbria is making a positive difference in Whitehaven and Carlisle.

“Professor Keogh reaches the same conclusion as the CQC [an earlier report by the health watchdog found various failings including lack of staff and poor management].

“Professor Keogh finds there are inadequate staffing levels and an over-reliance on locum cover in some areas. I have repeatedly made these points and they will again be addressed in my forthcoming health summit. I am currently awaiting a response from Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt regarding under-staffing and its detrimental effects upon our local services.”

The MP said that he had personally spoken to Professor Keogh and been reassured about the future.

“His exact words to me were: ‘There is nothing in North Cumbria which cannot be fixed’,” Mr Reed added.

Carlisle MP John Stevenson predicted that today will be a turning point in the NHS.

“North Cumbria is not isolated,” Mr Stevenson said. “The report makes for very sad reading but will come as no real surprise to us.

“It is absolutely clear to us that our hospitals have been poorly run for many, many years, with a combined failure of leadership and management.”

David Rogers, Deputy Clinical Chair of NHS Cumbria CCG said: “The findings of the Keogh review confirm what local GPs and patients already knew: that there needs to be major improvements in the quality of care in our hospitals.

“The trust are already taking many of the right actions. We are committed to working with them to fully take forward the findings and to make sure that the people of north Cumbria receive the quality of care that they deserve.”

John Lawlor, Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear area team director for NHS England, said: “All of us in the NHS – doctors, nurses, healthcare assistants, support staff and managers – have a collective responsibility to assure high quality and safe care for all patients.

“The Keogh review provides a clear focus for urgent priorities and improvements to be implemented by the trust and commissioner GPs, many of which are already well underway at North Cumbria.”

Full, in-depth report in tomorrow's News & Star

Have your say

You are spot- on with your reply to my post T-Lo.

Posted by Andy B on 27 July 2013 at 19:12

no point in arguing this one really, like benefits there is too many scare stories that overpower the good that the NHS does, I just cannot see that many privatized companies could handle the 60 odd million people of this country any better than what we have now, gong by what Andy B is saying privatized services are very good for people who can and want to afford them but in my oppinion their has to be something their for everyone else, less we end up like America with a large percentage of the country with no provision at all.

Posted by T-Lo on 26 July 2013 at 13:20

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