• Staff told inspectors that management at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals had failed to deal with concerns over racist language
  • Those from a BME background felt “ignored and disenfranchised”
  • Further concerns have also been raised about emergency patients forced to wait in corridors

Black and minority ethnic staff at Blackpool hospitals trust feel “ignored and disenfranchised”, saying management has failed to deal with concerns about racist language.

The criticisms were made by the Care Quality Commission in its initial feedback to Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust, following an inspection in June.

The regulator said in a letter: “We heard from several staff groups particularly those from a BME background that they felt ignored and disenfranchised.

“We were given examples of racist language which had been escalated but concerns were not being dealt with.

“Staff did not always raise concerns, or they were not always taken seriously, appropriately supported, or treated with respect when they did.”

The trust released the letter following a request from HSJ. The full inspection report is due to be published by the end of the year.

The 2018 staff survey found 8 per cent of staff at Blackpool had personally experienced discrimination from a manager or other colleagues, which was slightly higher than the average proportion for trusts of its type (trusts providing acute and community services), and a one percentage point increase on the previous year.

Kevin McGee, who took over the trust’s leadership on an interim basis in May, said: “In relation to the feedback from staff from a BME background we take this issue very seriously and we are actively working with all groups of staff in the organisation to improve inclusivity.

“We proactively offer career progression opportunities for all our staff and have a very high uptake from our BME staff group with a considerable number appointed into senior leadership positions in the trust. We will continue to support our BME staff with their career aspirations.”

Meanwhile, the CQC highlighted further concerns about the emergency department, which was rated “inadequate” for safety in March 2018. A follow-up inspection in early 2019 found little improvement, including patients routinely being treated in corridors due to a lack of beds.

Concerns have again been raised after the June visit, with the feedback letter saying: “There were some concerns in ED that the process for triage and formal risk assessments was not happening for patients being kept on the corridor out of hours. During our unannounced visit on the evening of 6 June we observed that these patients had not received a review by a nurse.”

On the emergency department issues, Mr McGee said: “Ensuring patient safety is the trust’s principle priority and we have already implemented several initiatives designed to ensure patient safety and experience. This plan has been shared with the CQC and will continue to monitor and support staff with the implementation of key actions required to improve care and safety.”

Several of the trust’s senior leaders have retired since the CQC visit in January, including chief executive Wendy Swift, chief nurse Marie Thompson, and medical director Mark O’Donnell.