Super managers to be called in to improve struggling Lincolnshire hospitals
Managers from successful hospitals will be called in to help improve performance at United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust.
The trust is in special measures following Sir Bruce Keogh’s review of hospitals with high mortality rates.
Now, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said mangers from top performing trusts will be parachuted into Lincolnshire hospitals and 10 other trusts named and shamed by Keogh, in a scheme similar to when superheads are called in to failing schools.
The news comes as another damning report finds ULHT is still failing to meet national standards of basic care and welfare.
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The Care Quality Commission, prompted by Keogh’s findings, made visits to Lincoln County Hospital and Boston Pilgrim Hospital over seven days in June and July and has now told the trust it must take responsibility and make sure standards are improved.
The CQC said it found the two hospitals failed to meet any of the national standards of care, welfare and staffing it was measured on.
Inspectors found low staffing levels had an impact across the hospital including in the care and treatment of patients, communication between clinical staff, the maintenance of patient records and access to staff training and appraisals.
Staff could not always respond to the needs of patients, not all care needs were assessed or planned on a timely way and there were concerns surrounding the documentation and decision making about whether to resuscitate patients.
Andrea Gordon, CQC regional director, said: “This is not acceptable and it is disappointing that we are again talking about this hospital trust in these terms.
“CQC has a range of enforcement powers but after careful consideration, we concluded further action would not lead to improvement in this case.
“We think it is important for the trust to focus on delivering its action plan in response to Sir Bruce Keogh’s review and will monitored by the Trust Development Authority.”
Jane Lewington, ULHT chief executive, says super managers from successful hospitals elsewhere will be brought in to help boost performance.
She said: “United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust has fully accepted the serious findings and important recommendations of the Keogh Review.
“The CQC report relates to an inspection carried out at the same time, in late June/early July, and confirms those issues raised by the Keogh Review which the Trust is working hard to address.
“We take our responsibilities to provide excellent patient care extremely seriously and are focused on meeting constantly rising expectations around our quality of care.
“ULHT is already implementing a comprehensive action plan in response to the Keogh Review. More than 100 of the 261 milestones in that plan have already been achieved.
“It is our top priority to ensure that we provide patients with the best possible care. We are improving, but we know we have more to do. That is why we have completely acknowledged the important findings of the Keogh Review and are responding to them.
“ULHT will continue to focus on maintaining our journey of improvement. We will work with the CQC, Trust Development Authority and other agencies to confirm that the trust is moving forward.”
Improvements already implemented in the action plan include setting safe minimum staffing levels for all wards and daily monitoring, raising standards and consistency of care for conditions such as sepsis and pneumonia, improving out of hours medical cover and better treatment record keeping.
ULHT’s death rate, the basis for the Keogh review, is now about 83, compared to 113 in 2010/11.
The trust is looking to recruit nurses from abroad to boost staffing levels. Since April, 165 UK-based nurses have joined the trust and 87 newly qualified nurses are due to start work next week.
Meanwhile, in comparison to 186 hospitals, Pilgrim Hospital is top when it comes to treating hip fracture patients quickly.
In the past year, the average time it takes to get a patient to theatre after being admitted has more than halved, to less than a day, the average length of stay has reduced by four days and the rate of deaths within 30 days has more than halved.