High death rate was a concern at NHS Trust

Gainsborough news
Gainsborough news

United Lincolnshire NHS Foundation Trust is one of 11 to have been put into special measures by the Government.

The investigation, led by NHS England’s medical director Prof Sir Bruce Keogh, focused on whether high death rates indicated sustained failings in the quality of care and treatment at the trusts.

The review said the trust, which includes Lincoln County Hospital, has been developing its quality strategy over the last few years but, with constant change in leadership, it had been challenging to make systematic improvements.

The review panel said staff were dedicated, loyal and committed, but there were examples suggesting they needed better, more joined up leadership to really address challenges.

Issues that were highlighted included inadequate staffing levels and poor workforce planning, a lack of clarity around escalation procedures and a complaints process that was not fit for purpose.

The review also said the patient experience was not at the heart of the organisation and that the trust’s complaints process was ‘not fit for purpose’.

The trust, which also runs Boston Pilgrim Hospital and Grantham and District Hospital, was selected to be part of the probe because of its higher than expected death rates.

The Trust had a Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratio (HSMR) rate of 111 in 2012, higher than the national average.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals said it ‘fully accepts’ the findings of the Keogh review and that work to address these issues is already underway.

The trust’s chief executive Jane Lewington said: “The safety and quality of patient care is our top priority.”

“We have always seen the review as an opportunity to continue our journey of improvement.”

“The review has helped to ensure that our efforts are targeting the changes that will make the most impact on patient care.”

“Therefore we fully accept the findings. Patients are the very heart of everything we do, but others are doing better and therefore we need to learn from them.”

Gainsborough MP Sir Edward Leigh has backed the government’s move to send special experts in to Lincoln Hospital.

“The revelations concerning United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust have frankly been appalling,” he said.

“The public have a right to a decent standard of care and it is clear that has not been delivered. This is intolerable and Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, is right to bring in swift and tough measures to alleviate this state of affairs.”

“I have always been pleased and impressed by the great care I have received from the NHS, but it’s clear we still need to maintain a high level of scrutiny, doubly so as lives are on the line.”