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Cumbria's NHS trust performs above national average despite 'requires improvement' rating

A&E department at West Cumberland Hospital Credit: ITV Border

The North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust has been ranked 45 out of 138 trusts in England, for its Accident and Emergency performance.

The national average for all trusts in May 2017 was 84.6% and North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust’s overall performance was 89.8%, above the average.

The national standard is that 95% of patients should be seen, treated, admitted or discharged from A&E in under four hours.

The most important message to take from this is remembering that behind these figures are our patients and local communities who both need and deserve excellent care. I am delighted to be able to share the news today that our continued focus on improvement is resulting in real progress and we will keep striving towards hitting the 95% standard.

– Stephen Eames, North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust Chief Executive

The Trust’s two A&E departments in Carlisle and Whitehaven had 7,696 attendances in May 2017, equating to over 10 people every hour.

The North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust is still rated as 'requires improvement' by the Care Quality Commission.

Royal College of Nursing praises staff for special measures turnaround

The Royal College of Nursing Northern region has praised the dedication of staff for taking North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust out of special measures.

The trust was under special measures for the last four years, but a report by the CQC has rated it as 'good' overall for providing ‘effective’ services.

“The CQC report highlights the need for the trust to do more work around recruitment of staff and this has been an issue continuously raised by the RCN, both within our strategic vision for clinical excellence in Cumbria launched two years ago as well as in our response to the West, North and East Cumbria Success Regime consultation, Healthcare for the Future.

“There is strong evidence that the number of registered nurses has a direct impact on patient outcomes and that high quality patient care can only be delivered with the right number of skilled professionals in the right settings.”

– Peta Clark, Operational Manager for the Royal College of Nursing Northern region


Hospital bosses 'saddened' by woman's death

Police are continuing their investigations into the death of a woman in a Cumbrian hospital.

Officers were called in by the coroner after 44-year-old Sharon Grierson died at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle last Monday.

A spokesman for North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust said they were saddened by her death but add that it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.

"We are deeply saddened by the death of a 44-year-old patient and we wish to express our sympathy to the patient’s family.

"We cannot comment further about the circumstances surrounding the patient’s death due to the current police investigation."

– Spokesperson, North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust


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

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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