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Inaccurate, infrequently made, disjointed and incomplete

The prime minister’s recent announcement of capital funding focussed on new buildings and facilities, but funding for IT infrastructure is required just as urgently.

One trust in dire need of an upgrade is Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust, where the poor quality of patient notes and information sharing has been cited in at least five inquests since 2016.

In a case three years ago, an assistant coroner for Blackpool and Fylde warned the provider about patient records that were “inaccurate, infrequently made, disjointed and incomplete”, which she said was impacting on the care being given.

Similar issues have repeatedly been cited by the coroner’s service ever since, with the Care Quality Commission also raising concerns over the trust’s paper notes following an inspection in June.

The trust, which reported a £9m deficit last year, is planning to procure an electronic document management system, which it believes will improve record keeping and information sharing.

A spokesman said there had been problems taking the project forward, partly due to “inadequate funding being available”, but added a “revised business case” is due to go to the board in early September.

The Care Quality Commission has recently investigated Leicester Royal Infirmary’s maternity wards, having been prompted to do so after three serious incidents. 

Inspectors found a lack of consultants in the maternity assessment unit and assessments of women being delayed because staff had to juggle managing telephones and patient care.

The CQC also found the environment of the maternity assessment unit did not provide privacy for women, staff handover or staff managing phone calls.

These findings might be particularly galling for the trust, considering its capital bid for reconfiguring the services has been turned down repeatedly by the government.

The trust wants £367m for a major reconfiguration, which would include bringing maternity services together from Leicester General and the Royal Infirmary.

This reconfiguration could enable the trust to use senior staff more effectively, and improve patient safety.