• North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust to come out of the special measures
  • The trust was one of 11 placed in the regime following Sir Bruce Keogh’s 2013 review into organisations with high mortality rates
  • CQC rates the trust requires improvement

The final trust from the first wave of organisations placed in special measures following the Keogh review has come out of the regime.

North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust was one of 11 organisations placed in special measures in 2013 after Sir Bruce Keogh’s review of hospital trusts with high mortality rates.

Stephen Eames

Stephen Eames

Stephen Eames said the decision was a ‘milestone’ for the trust

NHS Improvement today approved the trust to come out of the regime following a recommendation from the Care Quality Commission.

The CQC recommendation followed an inspection in December, which found improvements to the trust’s Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven. The trust was rated requires improvement overall.

Chief inspector of hospitals Professor Sir Mike Richards said the decision to recommend the trust leave special measures was because:

  • the new senior management team was working well to address issues facing the trust;
  • strategies had been developed to address the challenges;
  • improvements to cleanliness in the hospitals; and
  • staffing at West Cumberland Hospital had improved.

He added: “In the past two years there have been significant changes to the senior management team; they have worked well together, with external support, to address the issues identified in both Sir Bruce Keogh’s review and in our subsequent inspections. I am now pleased to be able to recommend they come out of special measures.

“Although there has been progress, particularly in the effectiveness of the services being provided, there is still a lot of work to do.”

This includes:

  • meeting the four hour A&E target;
  • resolving patient flow in and out of hospital;
  • making sure there are enough qualified staff across all wards; and
  • improving the rate of short notice cancellations.

There are 11 trusts still in special measures but 19 have now exited the regime following CQC inspections.

Trust chief executive Stephen Eames called the decision “momentous” and a “milestone”.

He added: “Of the possible 78 ratings our services received, we now have 57 goods, which is the most we have ever had. The majority of our services are also good overall.

“While we have a lot to celebrate today, I am also under no illusions that we still have work to do.”

The trust is a key partner in the region’s success regime, which is aiming to turnaround the troubled health economy.

Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group leaders agreed a series of acute and community service reconfigurations last week on the back of the success regime consultation.

However, the county council voted to refer the CCG’s decision over maternity services to health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Mr Hunt praised the staff at the trust and added: “North Cumbria is the final one of the original 11 trusts first placed in special measures to exit the regime, and we know there had been entrenched problems there for some time beforehand.

“That makes the accomplishment all the greater – and it’s another step on the road to making the NHS the safest, most transparent health service in the world.”