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Patient feedback boost for NHS Trust

The Trust runs the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle. Credit: ITV Border

Feedback from patients suggests North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust has improved.

A survey published by the Care Quality Commission was sent to inpatients at West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven, and the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle, during 2015.

It found the Trust had improved its rating in 42 out of 63 questions, compared to the 2014 results.

Areas of improvement included:

  • Cleanliness of wards, toilets and bathrooms
  • The quality and choice of food
  • Consistency in communications with staff
  • Ability to discuss worries and concerns with staff
  • Doctors answering questions in an understandable way
  • Having confidence and trust in doctors and nurses
  • Staff taking home or family situation into account when discharging patients
  • Quick response when pressing call buttons

Compared to other NHS Trusts in the country, North Cumbria was rated as "about the same" in all of the categories of questioning.

Work is already underway to address some areas highlighted including ensuring patients and their relatives know how to raise concerns. We are busy installing posters and postcards in our wards this week with contact details for our matrons who can be contacted directly should anybody have any concerns about care they would like to raise.

– Maurya Cushlow, executive director of nursing

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NHS Trust 'working hard' to improve transparency

The Cumberland Infirmary. Credit: ITV Border

The NHS Trust which runs two of Cumbria's major hospitals, says it is working hard to improve openness and transparency, after a national league table named it the seventh worst in the country.

The Trust is absolutely committed to improving our reporting culture and we very much encourage staff to report incidents and raise concerns. Our recent Staff Survey results demonstrated real improvements in these areas with more staff feeling the Trust acts on concerns raised compared to previous years.

However, we are under no illusions and know we still have a lot of progress to make. Over the past year, we have focused a lot of work on increasing staff awareness on the reporting of incidents, including the appointment of a clinical director for patient safety, and we are in the process of introducing regular learning events where training will be delivered and staff will share lessons from incidents. In addition, we will continue to review all deaths that occur in our hospitals as we have been doing for the past 18 months.

We are currently working hard with our partners in the Success Regime to collectively address the challenges we face and knowing how resilient our staff are, we are confident we can continue to make steps in the right direction for the benefit of staff and patients.”

– Derek Thomson, medical director at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust

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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
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