Hospital still failing on staffing and management, CQC report finds

Immediate action must be taken on staffing levels and the quality of management at The Royal Lancaster Infirmary, according to a new report out today (April 4).

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has found that University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust (UHMBT) failed to meet the requirements of warning notices following an unnanounced inspection on January 21.

The latest inspection was to follow up a previous inspection which resulted in two warning notices being issued about staffing levels on Ward 39, which cares for patients with mixed medical conditions.

The report found that further improvements are needed, and the CQC has ordered the trust to take immediate action and said it was also considering further regulatory intervention.

The trust said however that since the inspection staffing on the ward was now up to scratch, and it had “additional leadership support” in place.

It said it was also going to be publishing staffing levels on a monthly basis for all of its wards.

On January 21, the CQC looked at the personal care or treatment records of people who use the service, observed how people were being cared for and talked with people who use the service, including carers and family members.

It found that there were not enough qualified, skilled and experienced staff to meet people’s needs, which had a major impact on people who use the service.

Sue Smith, executive chief nurse for the Trust, said: “The report shows that the Trust was already acting on the findings of a previous unannounced visit, and since the report, more progress has been made.

“I spend time on our wards every week, and I know first-hand that our staff work hard day-in, day-out to ensure services are safe, and standards of care continue to be improved for the benefit of all of our patients.

“Staffing on the ward is now up to establishment, and the Trust continues to monitor staffing levels, not just on this ward, but across the Trust. The ward also has additional leadership support and we continue to build links between the staff on the ward and senior management to ensure staff are aware of wider matters and future plans.

“Over the last year, the Trust has been successful in increasing the number of registered nurses at the Trust, seeing over 130 new nurses join our hospitals. We still have work to do, but have significantly reduced the vacancy levels in these areas.

“The Trust is committed to being open and transparent and will shortly be publishing, on a monthly basis staffing levels for all of its wards as part of providing further reassurance to the public.”

The CQC said it would report later this month on any further regulatory action it would take.