Single-site move by blacklisted health trust

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A HEALTH trust which has been put into special measures says it can only provide round the clock services for stroke patients “safely” at one of its hospitals.

Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals Trust, which runs hospitals in Scunthorpe, Grimsby and Goole, was one of 11 put on a blacklist by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt last month for “fundamental breaches of care”.

The trust says they will temporarily transfer all acute and “hyperacute” services – where the patient has a bed with a cardiac monitor and one to one care – to Scunthorpe.

Concerns over stroke services at Diana Princess of Wales Hospital in Grimsby have been flagged up both by the Care Quality Commission and the recent Keogh review, which ordered an urgent review.

It said they were “particularly concerned” that patients were not being offered clot-busting treatment – thrombolysis – out of hours at either Grimsby or Scunthorpe and while there had been improvements in stroke care at Scunthorpe, these had not been implemented at Grimsby.

The drugs, suitable for some stroke patients, can only be given within four-and-a-half hours of symptoms starting, although the sooner they are given the better.

The trust currently offers hyperacute services from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday, at Scunthorpe and Grimsby.

Yesterday the trust’s chief executive, Karen Jackson, could not say when the changes would be made.

Currently out-of-hours stroke patients are taken to Hull Royal Infirmary.

In a statement she said: “The only way for the Trust to provide a 24/7 service safely is to consolidate on a single site.

“Therefore, we have decided to temporarily deliver all hyperacute and acute services from the Scunthorpe General Hospital stroke unit. This consolidation will not be implemented immediately – we will spend the next few weeks agreeing an implementation plan with out partners, including our commissioners and the ambulance providers.”

Until then current services will be offered at Grimsby. Its post-acute and rehabilitation service is unaffected.

The Keogh report said there were several improvement initiatives in place – but implentation was “slow and patchy.”

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