Scientists from Mbeya Hospital in Tanzania have just completed a two week visit to hospitals in Cumbria, where they were looking at how laboratories in the UK work.
Microbiologists Dr Anthony Nsojo and Felician Msingwa spent time shadowing staff across the region and will take their findings back to Tanzania.
The trip was part of North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust's Tanzanian link. It was funded by a grant from the Tropical Health Education Trust and the Department for International Development.
Staffing levels will be one of the focuses of the follow-up inspection of North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, which will review the specific problems identified with the Trust in its 2014 inspection.
The Care Quality Commission says it will talk to both staff and the public as part of its "robust" review after the Trust's "Requires Improvement" rating last year.
The results, which are expected to be published in 12 weeks time, will consider how far the trust has progressed since it was placed in special measures.
The Care Quality Commission will officially begin a follow up inspection of North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust today.
The inspection team will speak to hospital staff and patients about services after the trust received a rating of 'Requires Improvement' in April 2014.
The CGC is particularly interested in hearing about the public's experiences since the rating, but also where they would like to see improvements made in the future.
Members of the public are being asked to play their part to improve pressures on North Cumbria hospitals.
Efforts are being focused on reducing the need to maintain escalation beds, which have put a strain on normal routine business when hospitals are at capacity.
Health and social partners are working to make sure patients who do not need to be in an acute hospital bed, are safely discharged to a more appropriate care setting or home with the right package of care.
The public are being asked to help reduce pressures, and are being reminded:
- to think twice before using A&E or calling 999 for serious life threatening emergencies
- to think about using other NHS services such as walk-in centres and pharmacies or call Cumbria Health on Call (out of hours) on 03000 247247 for advice on alternative urgent services available
- to stay away from hospital if they have any symptoms of sickness or diarrhoea.
Progress has been made to improve the safety and quality of care at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, according to the results of a staff survey published this week.
Although the Trust remains amongst the lowest 20% of acute NHS organisations nationally, the Trust claims the results show that there have been small improvements in many areas. It was ranked above average when compared to other acute NHS trusts for staff receiving equality and diversity, and health and safety training.
The Trust maintains that while the results are pleasing, it knows there is more work to be done.
Hospitals in North Cumbria will spend an estimated £16.5 million on temporary doctors this year, which is £10 million more than three years ago.
North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust says it has been open and honest about the recruitment challenges it is faced with.
A spokeswoman for the Trust insisted the spending is an "entirely necessary measure" but local MP Jamie Reed says it's unacceptable.
North Cumbria University Hospital NHS Trust has signed up to the 'Hello my name is..' campaign.
The campaign reminds staff to go back to basics and introduce themselves to patients properly.
It was started by Dr Kate Granger in order to improve the patient experience after she became frustrated with the number of staff who failed to introduce themselves to her when she was in hospital.
More than 100 NHS organisations that have joined the movement .
Accident and emergency departments at West Cumberland Hospital and the Cumberland Infirmary are improving, according to the Care Quality Commission's national patient survey.
The hospitals, run by North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, showed improvements in six questions, including waiting times, opportunities for relatives to speak to a doctor and receiving prompt attention from staff when needed.
They were listed as 'average' in seven of the eight categories, and 'above' average in the eighth.
- Arrival at A&E - 8.2/10 - Average
- Waiting times - 7.0/10 - Above
- Doctors and nurses - 8.4/10 - Average
- Care and treatment - 8.0/10 - Average
- Tests - 8.2/10 - Average
- Hospital environment and facilities - 8.4/10 - Average
- Leaving A&E - 6.1/10 - Average
- Experience overall - 8.6/10 - Average
315 people who had attended one of the Trust’s A&E departments between January and March 2014 took the survey.
The results will be used in the regulation, monitoring and inspection of the Trust.
But, the Trust is aware that in recent weeks the 95% emergency care standard (patients being seen, treated and admitted or discharged from A&E within four hours) was not maintained, and dropped to 85% in October.
Hundreds of patients at a Cumbrian hospital are going to have to be tested for infections after equipment that had not been cleaned properly was used in a routine test.
North Cumbria NHS Trust has written to 357 patients who had an endoscopy procedure at the Cumberland Infirmary between 20 May and 19 June.
Hospital bosses say the risks of infection are very low but are urging patients that may be affected to contact a dedicated helpline.
Two hospitals in North Cumbria have been referred to the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt for failing to deal with mounting debts.
The North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust was one of 19 flagged up to Jeremy Hunt for not meeting its statutory duty to break-even in the last financial year.
The trust runs the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and and the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven.