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Hospital trust urges patients to speak to staff about concerns

A Cumbrian Hospital Trust is urging patients who have concerns about their care to speak to their staff in the first instance so problems can be resolved.

It follows an incident at West Cumberland Hospital where a stroke victim was sent home as there was no specialist bed available.

The incident was revealed along with three other different situations at the monthly board meeting of North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust.

It runs the Whitehaven hospital and the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle.

Hospital NHS Trust: "Significant amount of work" has been done since Keogh Review

A spokeswoman for the North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust has responded to the findings of a NHS report that a stroke victim was sent home from a Cumbria hospital by a doctor because "no stroke unit was available."

"The way complaints are handled by our trust was one of the issues highlighted by the Keogh review and a significant amount of work has been undertaken to improve the way we respond and learn from each incident.

"A complaints workshop for senior managers was held in June, following which a revised process for investigating and responding to complaints is being implemented.

"As part of our drive to be more open and transparent, details of serious complaints are reported to the public trust board each month, along with trends and themes which help us to identify particular problem areas.

"We would encourage any patient or relative who has a concern about their care to raise the issue with a member of staff at the earliest possible opportunity, to enable us to try to resolve the problem at the time."

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Stroke victim sent home by doctor in Cumbria

A stroke victim was sent home from a Cumbria hospital by a doctor because "no stroke unit was available", according to an NHS report.

The patient was discharged by a locum doctor from one of the hospitals run by North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, according to the trust's board papers.

An investigation has been launched by the trust's medical director into the process for appointing agency locum medical staff.

The locum in question no longer works at the trust, according to the document.

There were also three other "serious" patient incidents during June at the trust, which runs Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle, the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven and a midwifery-led service at Penrith Community Hospital.

One patient was operated on after mistakenly being given a local instead of a general anaesthetic.

Medics missed a "mass" which should have been spotted on a chest X-ray of another patient.

And a consultant coughed during a procedure which resulted in a patient moving - which they claimed "affected the clinical outcome".

The trust is one of 11 that was put put into "special measures" for "fundamental breaches of care" following a review into 14 trusts with higher than expected death rates.

The investigation, led by NHS medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, found that none of the hospitals investigated was providing "consistently high-quality care to patients".

Concerns over consultant cover in north Cumbria

Concerns over consultant cover at hospitals in north Cumbria Credit: ITV

Concerns have been raised over consultant cover on weekends at hospitals in North Cumbria.

According to a new report, North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust has had as few as four consultants on duty on a Saturday and Sunday to cover 485 patients and two accident and emergencies.

Jeremy Rushmer, Interim Medical Director at the trust, said: "Surgery in North Cumbria is run as an on-call service with consultant surgeons available in all sub-specialties 24/7 as opposed to a 'shift system'.

"This allows complete cover over a longer period of time with the limited consultant workforce available.

"This is the standard approach nationally and we comply fully with all Royal College of Surgeons and Association of Surgeons guidelines and recommendations."

Nurse wins 'outstanding contribution' award

A leading cancer nurse at North Cumbria University Hospitals has won a national award in recognition for her outstanding contribution to cancer nursing.

Consultant Cancer Nurse Helen Roe was awarded the 'UK Oncology Nursing Society's President's Award', an award only given out bi-annually.

"In my opinion, Helen has made an outstanding contribution to cancer nursing. I have worked with her closely over the past few years. Her knowledge, passion and professionalism is a rare thing to find in nursing today. I commend her commitment to cancer nursing and have found her to be a great support to me in my role whilst I was the UKONS President.

"I hope this award gives Helen some recognition for her contribution to the cancer nursing world. It is awarded to her from peers, which is the greatest recognition and accolade a cancer nurse can receive."

– Cheryl Vidall, Outgoing President

The prestigious award acknowledges the work Helen has done throughout her nursing career, and in particular, since she became one of the UK's first Consultant Cancer Nurses 11 years ago.

Judges highlighted specific attributes in choosing Helen for the award, including her work on online learning modules, her involvement in the development and publishing of position statements, and her various publications on cancer nursing.

"The award was totally out of the blue, I had no idea whatsoever. I really wasn't expecting it."

– Helen Roe

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