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NHS Trust responds to nursing union's criticism

The trust has responded. Credit: PA

A Cumbrian NHS Trust has responded to claims that nurses in the county's hospitals are under severe pressure, and that morale is low.

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland Hospital, says staff are encouraged to raise their concerns:

Our staff are our most valuable asset and, as a leadership team, we absolutely appreciate the challenges our nurses at both of our hospital sites face every day and we work hard to tackle any concerns regarding staffing levels and low morale.

The senior nursing team very much encourage staff to raise any concerns they may have with us directly and we have a weekly meeting to address any issues with staffing levels and any concerns regarding nurse staffing on our wards. We are continually working to address our recruitment difficulties and have recently appointed 52 registered nurses of which 34 are local student nurses.

The Trust launched its first Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals Strategy in December 2014 to give staff the opportunity to set out our priorities and commitments for the next three years. The strategy was recognised in the latest CQC report with the inspection team noting that all of the nursing staff they spoke to could tell them about the strategy and the impact it will have on them in the future. Over 500 members of staff got involved in creating the strategy and work is ongoing to ensure it is translated into real change on the ground.”

– Gail Naylor, director of nursing & midwifery at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust


NHS Trust 'understands why judgement has been made'

A health watchdog says North Cumbria's two biggest hospitals haven't made enough progress to be taken out of special measures.

The Care Quality Commission has rated the Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland Hospital as requiring improvement.

The CQC praised staff for providing a caring service but said there are underlying problems:

Clearly we remain in special measures, and we are disappointed by that, particularly because we know the really strenuous efforts that our staff make to deliver good care.

But we absolutely understand why that judgement has been made, because we still have some really deep-rooted, long standing challenges.

And until we resolve those, we'll remain in special measures."

– Gail Naylor, executive director of nursing & midwifery at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust

'Significant concerns' about staffing at Cumbrian hospitals

The Cumberland Infirmary is one of the North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust. Credit: ITV Border

Cumbria's NHS Clinical Commissioning Group has welcomed improvements in the performance of North and West Cumbrian hospitals, detailed after a CQC inspection.

But it says concerns around staffing at the Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland Hospital are ongoing:

We’re pleased to see an overall improvement from the previous inspection – especially around the availability of records for outpatient appointments, surgical services and the care of children and young people.

It’s also encouraging to see the Trust has maintained its good rating around caring and critical care. This reflects the hard work of all the staff at the Trust.

However, we note the ongoing significant concerns about acute medical staffing, particularly around the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven and there is still a lot of work to do around the access targets.”

– David Rogers, Medical Director at NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group


WATCH: Extra support for north Cumbria's healthcare system welcomed

Doctors, politicians and campaigners have all welcomed the news that the entire health care system in North Cumbria is to receive extra support from the NHS.

North Cumbria is one of three areas in England to benefit from the new so-called "success regime".

The Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle, and the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven are already in special measures. Katie Hunter reports.

'It's got to be seen as a positive'

Carlisle MP John Stevenson has said the announcement that a new "Support Regime" will be put in place at north Cumbria's two main hospitals has "got to be seen as a positive".

NHS England has unveiled plans for North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust, which runs both the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and Whitehaven's West Cumberland Hospital.

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