RLI bosses investigated

TWO NHS watchdogs have expressed concern over the safety of services at the Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust.

The trust, which runs the Royal Lancaster Infirmary hospital, is now under investigation from regulators the Care Quality Commission and Monitor.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has told the trust to improve within two months or face action, which could include closing maternity services.

This follows an inquest which ruled that nine-day-old Joshua Titcombe died at the trust’s Furness General Hospital in Barrow in October 2008 of natural causes, but found that midwives had repeatedly missed opportunities to spot and treat a serious infection.

Monitor said there were very important issues that needed to be be resolved.

In June, the Care Quality Comission published a report on the RLI saying it was failing to meet standards in quality of food and drink to meet patients’ dietary needs, staff numbers and complaint handling.

The trust says it has already addressed most of the concerns.

Jackie Holt, director of nursing and modernisation, said: “There is significant evidence in this report that shows we have made vast improvements since the publicised case in 2008 and we are pleased that these have been recognised by the CQC.

“Most notably are the improvements to record keeping which was described in the report as being ‘done to a high standard with emphasis on individual mother and baby.’

“That doesn’t mean that we aren’t concerned about the areas highlighted as needing further improvement. Following the publication of the UHMBT commissioned Fielding Report last year, we had already begun to make many of the improvements identified in the report. For the other issues highlighted, our action plans have already been submitted to the CQC and are now underway across the Trust.

“We remain committed to offering a safe and effective maternity service across Morecambe Bay. Our maternity services staff work hard to make sure the service they offer is of the highest standard possible and in 2010 alone, safely delivered around 3,500 babies.”