Cumbria hospitals trust removed from special measures

Date: Wednesday 29th March 2017
Cumberland Infirmary sign
Cumberland Infirmary sign

THE trust which runs North Cumbria's two acute hospitals has been removed from special measures in recognition of the major improvement in theservices it offers patients.

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, which serves a population of more than 320,000 people in one of the most geographically remote areas in the country, was originally put into specialmeasures in July, 2013. It has since received significant support from NHS Improvement, including via a formal buddying arrangement with neighbouring Northumbria NHS Foundation Trust.

The North Cumbria trust is the final one to exit special measures out of the original 11 which were placed in the regime by Sir Bruce Keogh in 2013 as part of his review of trusts with high mortality rates.

The improvements in the services the trust offers patients were recognised by the independent Care Quality Commission (CQC), whose inspection has now given no inadequate ratings for any area of the trust’s work.

The CQC particularly highlighted improvements to the patient environment and cleanliness, and praised changes to the trust’s senior management and approach.

To address those areas, the CQC identified as needing improvement things such as patient flow in A&E and reducing agency reliance. NHS Improvement will continue to provide the trust with additional support and guidance.

NHS Improvement executive medical director Dr. Kathy McLean congratulated staff at the trust and said: “This announcement should be a point of pride for every single member of staff who has worked tirelessly to make improvements to the services delivered by the trust to the people of North Cumbria.

“It is a huge achievement to have exited special measures, which is reflected in the improved experience and compassionate care that patients receive at the trust and I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate staff for this.

“There is work still to do, of course, and the trust still needs to prioritise improving performance further and restoring financial balance. However, patients and local people can feel some confidence that today's announcement is positive proof that the trust is on its way to tackling those challenges as it moves towards being rated as ‘good’.”

Lyn Simpson, NHS Improvement’s executive regional managing director (North), added: “This is absolutely a testament to the hard work and dedication of the trust and each and every member of staff. The commitment they have shown to improvements, to the patients under their care and to every aspect of the services they deliver has led to this point, and they should be rightly proud of this recognition of those efforts.

"We will continue to work with the trust to ensure the changes made, represented in this report and its recommendations, are sustainable and continue to offer the high standards of care the people of North Cumbria deserve."