Hospital services in Cumbria are failing to meet the expected standards, according to inspectors.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) says the NHS trust that runs Carlisle's Cumberland Infirmary, and the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven, is making progress but still requires improvement.
It comes after an inspection of North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust (NCUH) services in July and August 2018.
Inspectors examined urgent and emergency services, medical care, surgery, maternity and services for children & young people, as well as how ‘well led’ the organisation is.
As well as the hospitals in Whitehaven and Carlisle, the inspection also covered services at the Birthing Centre at Penrith Hospital.
The inspection considers whether services are safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led.
In the CQC’s report published today, The Trust's services were rated as follows:
- Urgent and emergency services: requires improvement
- Medical care (including older people’s care): requires improvement
- Services for children & young people: good
- Surgery: good
- Maternity: good
Inspections at the Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland Hospital found that patients were waiting too long for treatments that led to "serious incidents".
Mental health assessments also "failed to meet best practice guidelines".
The report states that staff safety was risked by the high number of staff sickness, which meant that wards were not fully supported.
However, there was praise for addressing doctor shortages and outstanding practice in working to reduce delayed transfers of care.
More services are rated as ‘good’ overall and staff were said to be 'caring' throughout the Trust.
The Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Ted Baker, said:
Stephen Eames, chief executive of NCUH and Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said: