Hospitals’ plan to improve after damning report

The new birthing unit at Burnley General Hospital.
The new birthing unit at Burnley General Hospital.

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust has published an action plan outlining improvements it has made since it was criticised in the Keogh Report in June over the high number of deaths in its hospitals.

The five-point plan covers recruitment, balance of demand, concerns and complaints, care initiatives and out-patient care.

The trust said key actions taken to date were:

Recruitment: The number of nurses on night shift on medical wards was immediately increased. There are now two trained nurses and two health care assistants. The Trust has recruited 30 more trained nurses and 30 HCAs on medical wards and nine extra midwives.

Balance of demand/capacity between sites: An extra ward has been opened at Burnley General Hospital (Ward 16). It is a 20-bed medical step-down ward for patients who still need medical and nursing care but are not ready to return home.

Concerns/complaints: All patients or carers who raise concerns or complaints are offered a face-to-face meeting to discuss concerns with the clinical team responsible for their care.

Share-2-Care Initiative: The Keogh report noted the Trust’s dedicated staff and good practice, but said that needs to be more consistent. To achieve this, the Trust has implemented a number of initiatives under the banner “Share-2-Care”.

It has brought together the Nursing and Midwifery forum and Clinical Leaders’ Forum (clinical, divisional, associate, medical directors) who will meet quarterly as the Joint Clinical Leaders Forum to share good practice and learn from complaints, incidents and claims.

Multi-Disciplinary Team meetings to review issues relating to care have been rolled out across all clinical areas.

Ambulatory Care/OPAT: Plans for an Outpatient Antibiotic Service and Ambulatory Care – a patient focused service where people coming to hospital unscheduled can have investigations and exploratory examinations carried out without the need for an overnight stay – have been approved.

Mark Brearley, Trust’s Chief Executive, said: “We have already put in place key changes outlined and, once in post, we will work with our improvement director and colleagues in our partner trust to meet challenges going forward.”

The Trust was placed in special measures in July and has been partnered with a mentor trust, Newcastle-upon-Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which is regarded as one of the best in the country. Talks have been held between Mr Brearley and his Newcastle counterpart, Sir Leonard Fenwick.