[A] hospital trust in North Cumbria has today been removed from special measures in recognition of the major improvement in the services it offers patients, marking the last special measures exit for the trusts put into the regime following the Keogh Review.
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 special measures in July 2013. It has since received significant support from NHS Improvement, including via a formal buddying arrangement with neighbouring Northumbria NHS Foundation Trust.
North Cumbria is the final NHS trust to exit special measures out of the original 11 that were placed in the regime by Sir Bruce Keogh in July 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, 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 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: “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), said: “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.”
Copeland MP, Trudy Harrison, said: “I would like to congratulate all those who have worked so hard to make this happen. This a step in the right direction and as the MP for Copeland I will be supporting the retention and recruitment initiative of the trust.
“Our region has so many opportunities for learning and working and this is great news as we move forward.”