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New calls for Morecambe Bay breast cancer review

A consultant studying a mammogram (Library) Credit: Press Association

A woman whose breast cancer was missed by the North Lancashire and South Cumbria breast screening programme is calling for an historic review of cases.

'Lisa' was given the all clear in 2005 after a routine mammogram. Six months later it emerged her cancer had been missed. She was 37 years old.

Lisa said she was devastated: "My confidence was just destroyed, I just thought how can that happen?

"I put all my trust in people to look after me and then they report I'm fine and less than six months later I'm not fine."

ITV news obtained figures earlier this year showing at least 14 other cases were missed between 2005 and 2011.

We reiterate the apologies we gave in 2007 to the lady concerned when her mammogram was incorrectly interpreted – as we appreciate this would have caused her additional worry at an already distressing time.

We would reassure Lisa and the public that a review of the Breast Screening Service by national experts from Public Health England in 2014 determined that the service is safe and there are no concerns about film reading in the unit, which meets national standards with good overall cancer detection rates.

– Dr David Walker, Medical Director of Morecambe Bay Hospitals Trust


Breast screening unit safe but requires improvement

An investigation into the North Lancashire and South Cumbria Breast Screening Programme has highlighted "serious concerns" in relation to the management, working relations and audit culture.

The review concluded the service is safe but there must be a "significant review of processes" to ensure it stays that way.

The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Trust says it welcomes the report and will implement all of its findings. Katie Hunter has more:

Special Measures on the horizon for the Morecambe Bay Trust

Another of Cumbria's NHS Trusts has been told it's not up to scratch.

The Morecambe Bay Trust which runs the Westmorland General in Kendal is set to be placed into special measures.

A series of inspections found that the quality of care at their hospitals needed improvements, although the report said the Westmorland General itself was providing good overall care.

Kendal's hospital has come out the best but it runs fewer services than the Lancaster Infirmary and the Furness General.

That means many patients from this area are sent to Lancaster or Barrow. Fiona Marley Paterson been looking into what difference this will make to patient care.

Morecambe Bay NHS Trust 'taking note of the criticism'

The NHS trust which runs the Westmorland General in Kendal is to be placed into special measures.

It follows a series of inspections that found that the quality of care at two hospitals of the Morecambe Bay NHS Trust needed improvements, although the Westmorland General itself was providing a good service overall.

The county's two other main hospitals are already in special measures. Here's Fiona Marley Patterson.


Good quality of care is 'unlikely' without external help

"We undertook this inspection because Morecambe Bay has a history of problems relating to the quality of care and because on our monitoring it showed significant risks...

"Special measures means that we feel without external support this Trust is unlikely to be able to get to a position of delivering good quality care within a reasonable timescale...they will be "buddied" with another high performing trust so they can learn from that trust and in addition to that they will have a vigorous action plan that we will then monitor to make sure they are making progress within reasonable timescales."

– Spokesperson, Care Quality Commission

'Several ways' in which Trust needs to improve

The Care Quality Commission (CQC)says there are several ways in which the Morecambe Bay Hospitals Trust needs to improve:

  • It needs to recruit more staff and the right staff.
  • It needs to report when things go wrong and make sure they don't happen again.
  • It needs better records and more assessment of its own performance.

The CQC have recommended the Trust be put into special measures, meaning the hospitals will get extra help to make the necessary improvement.

Kendal's Westmorland General Hospital has been named as providing a good over all service.

The county's other two main hospitals, run by the trust, are already in special measures.

Improvements to Trust are 'not an overnight job'

The Chief Executive of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation has expressed her disappointment at the news that the Morecambe Bay Hospital Trust is set to be placed in special measures.

Jackie Daniel said 'significant improvements' are being made within the trust but that it will take some time for them to be fully implemented.

“We are all incredibly disappointed to receive the overall rating for the Trust. The reports reflect the fact that we are part-way through a process of significant improvement which is still going to take a number of years to complete. It isn’t an overnight job to change the culture of a large complex organisation but through the hard work and commitment of our staff, governors and partners, our hospitals are now much safer, with improved standards of care in a number of areas from two years ago when we started to turn them around."

– Jackie Daniel, Chief Executive, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation

“I believe that ‘special measures’ will provide the Trust with focused support to make further change in a number of core areas, and we welcome this assistance. We will use these reports as the spring board for further, positive improvement. I believe it is essential that we address the issues we face as a local health community for the benefit of our patients, collaborating with each other across the NHS in an even more determined and targeted way, something we’ve done to good effect already with maternity and A&E services."

– Jackie Daniel, Chief Executive, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation

'Disappointing' that Morecambe Bay trust in special measures

The Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, has said that it is "disappointing" that he has had to put the Morecambe Bay Hospitals NHS Trust into special measures.

“There is a long history of concern with the quality of service provided by University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust – so it is disappointing to report that a number of the issues that have been identified in the past remain unresolved.

“I do not believe that the trust is likely to resolve its challenges without external support. This is why I am recommending that the trust is placed in to special measures."

– Professor Sir Mike Richards
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