• Trust has not funded recruitment of workforce to understaffed unit
  • Lewisham and Greenwich Trust saw year end deficit forecast nearly triple to £65m in November
  • London trust is also having to outsource significant amounts of work

A hospital trust that received a damning report into one of its critical care units has not yet agreed to hire replacement clinicians requested by staff to improve the service.

Lewisham and Greenwich Trust in south London received the highly critical report into standards at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in July, which identified staff shortages and poor governance.

A document for the trust’s board meeting today said a business case had been submitted for pharmacy, physiotherapy, dietetics, speech and language therapy, and occupational therapy posts – but “unfortunately, whilst the recommendations were accepted, there have been no funds forthcoming”.

A trust spokesman said additional funding had been approved for consultants but a full business case was still being developed for the allied health professionals.

In November, the £539m turnover trust downgraded its year end financial position from a £22.8m deficit to a deficit of £65.2m.

A new clinical care director has been appointed and three vacant consultant posts filled with locums while substantive appointments are sought.

The report by the South London Critical Care Network found a poor ratio of patients to consultants, “lack of medical leadership”, “inadequate clinical governance structure” and said “multidisciplinary team working to discuss patient care was inadequate”.

A business case is being developed for the expansion and relocation of Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s critical care unit “to ensure space standards are met and the size of the unit is sufficient to meet the existing and future needs of the local population as part of the trust level quality and safety improvement plan”.

In common with many hospital trusts, Lewisham and Greenwich faces performance and access challenges for elective procedures and cancer treatment.

The board papers said its backlog of general surgery patients had grown to more than 650, driven largely by vascular surgery and benign general surgery.

The trust has outsourced vascular work to the company Frontière Médicale and the benign general surgery to BMI. The latter will perform 230 procedures in total, the majority in orthopaedics.

Homerton University Hospital Foundation Trust was due to undertake 20 procedures a month for Lewisham and Greenwich Trust patients as it works to overcome the backlog.

The trust is also outsourcing some endoscopy work to BMI’s Shirley Oaks site in Croydon and some of its dermatology caseload to firm Concordia.

 

*This story updated on 1st February, 15.22, to reflect that, in fact, the referrals have not been made to the Homerton*