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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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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
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