Spotlight on: North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust

19 July 2013

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Spotlight on: North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust

The Health Secretary has revealed that 11 hospital trusts listed in a shocking report of care failures have been placed under "special measures".

After the publication of Professor Sir Bruce Keogh's review into 14 trusts, Jeremy Hunt reiterated that all of the trusts have been ordered to act on recommendations made by health officials. In this article looks at the underlying faults at one of the trusts highlighted in the report: North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust (Two hospitals-Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland)

The trust is responsible for services at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven. It also runs a birthing centre at Penrith Community Hospital. Findings criticised poor maintenance of two of its operating theatres and Keogh identified a failure to ensure adequate maintenance of equipment. To this end two operating theatres were shut down over hygiene concerns.

This was another trust where the issue of poor staffing arose with inefficient staffing levels and the finding that locum cover was relied upon to paper over these cracks. Infection control and prevention practices were found to be lacking and tallying with the Francis Report, there was a focus on a lack of transparency and openness in dealing with serious incidents culminating in a major ‘top down’ culture.

Ann Farrar, the interim chief executive of the trust said it needed “a significant culture change” but warned that it would not happen overnight. “I am encouraged that the Keogh Review team have recognised the work the trust has already done.”

If you or a loved one has experience or knowledge of failings at the above trust, you can contact to discuss your healthcare rights in order to make a complaint and to also make a medical negligence compensation claim with our medical negligence solicitors depending on the circumstances of what happened. Our specialists have wide experience of providing advice and support across a number of areas relating to potential medical mistreatment, such as misdiagnosis and delay and surgery errors, for example.