1. ITV Report

Patient health affected by appointment delays

More than 600 people may have suffered as a result of delays in outpatient appointments at the hospitals run by the Morcambe Bay Hospital Trust, which includes the Westmorland General in Kendal.

The trust has contacted 19,000 patients who had their outpatient appointments delayed to explain that their care may have been affected.

The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust reviewed all outpatient appointments and found that 663 people may have been adversely affected as a result.

Sir David Henshaw, the interim Chair of the Trust, said:

“It is unacceptable that these delays occurred. Local people are right to feel that they have been let down by this Trust in the past. The problems are being addressed.

There is still a lot to do but I want to be clear: providing safe, high quality patient care will always be our priority. We will not preside over unsafe services."

– Sir David Henshaw

South lakes MP Tim Farron has called for an apology to all the patients affected by the issue.

The Trust, has faced a series of reviews by health regulators Monitor and the Care Quality Commission (CQC), and has seen a drastic change in leadership over the past few months with the appointment at Sir David Henshaw as interim Chair of the Board and Eric Morton as the interim Chief Executive.

The problem with delays in outpatient follow-up appointments at the Trust was highlighted last year. Around 19,000 people had their outpatient appointment delayed and an additional 1,100 clinics were put on so they could be seen as soon as possible.

Tim is meeting Health Ministers to talk about issues at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust.

Commenting, Tim said:

"I would like to thank staff across all the hospitals for working so hard to clear the backlog and ensure patients are receiving the attention and treatment that they deserve. But I think the management need to take this opportunity to say sorry to the people who have been inconvenienced, concerned or affected by this.

"Now it is important that we continue to work with Monitor and the CQC to ensure that we get this trust back on track - providing the best possible care for all patients across the Morecambe Bay area."

– Tim Farron MP