In 2012, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) undertook an investigation of the delivery of emergency care services at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust. This investigation identified a number of concerns with the provision of emergency services at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Furness General Hospital and an apparent dislocation between senior managers and senior clinicians.
Today, we have published the report of our follow up review which was carried out in April this year by a team of eight CQC inspectors, two external specialist advisers and an expert by experience. Of the 40 recommendations made in the investigation report we judge seven have been met, 30 are partly met and three remain outstanding.
On the follow up visit, the team found evidence of improvement in the safety and quality of care across the emergency care pathway. In addition, they saw that governance and management systems had been strengthened at Trust and departmental level.
However we are concerned about the sustainability of this improvement and further work is needed to address the 33 recommendations that remain unmet or only partially met. In particular, the trust must take early action to:
Ensure that suitably qualified and experienced paediatric staff are available at all times within the A&E department.
Improve its complaints handling systems to make sure that complaints are responded to fully and in a timely manner, demonstrating that changes to practice have been introduced as a result.
Ensure a cultural change programme is in place across the organisation that promotes an identity of a fully merged trust.
Publication of this follow report marks the end of our formal investigation but we will continue to monitor the trust closely, using the range of our regulatory powers as required.
Malcolm Bower-Brown, CQC’s Regional Director for the North said: “Although we are pleased to report evidence of improvement since our original investigation last year, with only seven of 40 recommendations met in full, there is still a great deal of work to be done to deliver and sustain the further improvements in the safety and effectiveness of services that are required at the trust. We will continue to monitor the trust closely over the coming months until we are assured that the required service improvements are fully embedded and patients are receiving safe and effective services on a sustainable basis. We will be sharing the findings of our review with Monitor and NHS England and it will also be used by our Chief Inspector of Hospitals to inform the future inspection of the trust under our new intensive hospital inspection programme that has been introduced recently.”