Hospital trust back in special measures

A NHS trust which runs three hospitals in northern Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire has become the first in the country to go back into special measures for quality issues, following an inspection which rated its emergency services as 'inadequate.'

The results of the Care Quality Commission’s latest inspection comes weeks after it was revealed Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust had been placed in financial special measures in the face of a £30m deficit.

CQC inspectors found significant concerns in urgent and emergency care, outpatients and maternity services at Diana Princess of Wales Hospital, in Grimsby, and Scunthorpe General Hospital.

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Goole Hospital was not included in the inspection, having been rated “good” in October 2015.

The trust - whose interim chief executive Richard Sunley has apologised for “letting down” patients - was placed in special measures in 2013 by Sir Bruce Keogh, after being identified as having higher than expected death rates. It came off the blacklist in April 2014 following improvements.

However in the latest inspection from October to December 2016, the CQC found a number of services had deteriorated, resulting in an overall rating of “inadequate.”

They included: Growing numbers having to wait longer than necessary for outpatient appointments or inpatient treatments. Data from November 2016 showed two patients had been waiting for surgery for more than a year.

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*Inspectors were “not assured” emergency patients at Scunthorpe were offered food and water - out of 33 sets of notes reviewed, only one had documented that a patient had a drink of water.

*Poor infection control practices at Scunthorpe General Hospital: in the emergency department several equipment trolleys were dirty and dusty, sharps bins were overflowing and cleaning schedules showed that the resuscitation room had not been cleaned since April 2016.

*Poor leadership and oversight in a number of services and at a senior level within the trust.

NHS Improvement will work with the trust to help it bring round improvements.

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Executive Medical Director for NHS Improvement Dr Kathy Mclean, said: “Coupled with additional leadership support, collaboration in the local area, practical advice and the efforts to improve finances, we hope to help the trust turn things around so it can offer quick, safe and high quality services to patients long into the future.”

Interim chief executive Richard Sunley apologised for not meeting the standard patients expected and said they welcomed the extra support.

He said: “Whilst we had made some improvements since the inspection in October 2015 - our critical care, end of life care and community services have improved and are now ‘good’ - we recognise we have not addressed all the Care Quality Commission’s concerns. We are determined to move forward and make changes with pace and focus so we can consistently deliver high quality standards for patients across all of our services.”