ULHT bosses praise ‘big strides’ made in effort to take trust out of special measures

Bosses at United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (ULHT) have praised the ‘big strides’ the trust has made since inspections saw it put into special measures.

The trust is marking one year since the inspections by the Care Quality Commission and six months since ULHT was placed into special measures by highlighting the ‘extensive work’ which has been done to address the issues raised and improving the quality and safety of care.

Chief Executive Jan Sobieraj said: “While it takes time to turnaround the quality and safety of services in a Trust our size, we have made big strides over the last year.

“Getting out of clinical and financial special measures isn’t about working harder, but about working differently. Our staff are fantastic and I know that together we can really make ULHT great.”

The trust has said it has made good progress in a variety of areas, including creating a new temporary senior management team at Pilgrim hospital to drive through changes.

This includes hiring two new permanent heads of nursing and two general managers.

ULHT has also launched new initiatives for staff to highlighting their concerns and allow them time to do structured checks of the wards.

The trust recently welcomed 80 newly-qualified nurses and new consultants

It says that all of its new health support care workers are now automatically enrolled on a course to ensure they are all ‘learning the same skills, knowledge and behaviours to provide compassionate, safe and high quality care, as well as opening up the opportunity to go on to study to become a registered nurse in future’.

Ward accreditation launched in October. Wards will be regularly inspected by a team of independent senior nurses and assessed against a range of 13 quality standards.

Bosses say that ‘extensive work’ has been done on improving health records, and that the number of patients waiting more than 12 weeks for a first outpatient appointment has halved.

However the trust admits it still needs to make some progress and pointed to several areas including an investment of £2.5m a month to improve fire safety.

It says it is also working more on supporting vulnerable patients better through training staff and improving policies and practice around safeguarding and mental health.

The trust points to improved appraisal rates with 80 per cent of staff having had an appraisal as of September 2017 compareed with just 65 per cent in March 2017.

More than half of the trust’s senior managers have also completed a two-day leadership course on the qualities needed and the expectations of leaders at ULHT with the rest expected to be done by March 2018.

A statement from the trust added: “There is still more to do, and we will strive to maintain progress delivered so far and bring about big change in many other areas.”

It finished of with further work underway including a restructuring of the infection prevention team, future work planned around safe use of sharps and a campaign on hand hygiene.

The trust is also establishing a ‘medical bank’, in a bid to reduce a reliance on agency doctors.

It has also been to a number of recruitment fairs to encourage medical staff to join ULHT, and says more work is being done on the ‘Lincolnshire attraction strategy’.

ULHT was returned to special measures following a damning review by CQC.

It was a major setback for ULHT after previously being rated as ‘requiring improvement’ in 2015. This was after being rated as inadequate in 2013.

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