• CQC found A&E, outpatients and surgical services at Scunthorpe General Hospital had “either not improved or had deteriorated since our last inspection”
  • Trust chief executive “extremely disappointed”
  • Chair says “a number of aspects of the inspection have given us cause for concern”

Bosses at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Foundation Trust have criticised the Care Quality Commission after one of its hospitals was rated “inadequate”.

The regulator found that accident and emergency, outpatients and surgical services at Scunthorpe General Hospital had “either not improved or had deteriorated since our last inspection”.

Mike Richards

Mike Richards

Mike Richards was concerned by the backlog of patients waiting for outpatient follow up

The FT was given an overall rating of “requires improvement” following  inspecions between October and January. This matched the rating it was given in 2014, when the trust was lifted out of special measures.

However, after the latest visit, the CQC found “evidence of harm to patients within the outpatient services because of poor management of the follow up appointment system”.

It also said A&E and critical care services were short staffed, while a lack of overnight medical cover at Scunthorpe was delaying care and treatment for some.

In a statement, Karen Jackson, the trust’s chief executive, said she is “extremely disappointed” by the overall rating for Scunthorpe General.

She added: “This is not a reflection of the overall quality of care at the hospital but is in the main attributable to two issues – a backlog of outpatient follow up appointments that developed during 2015, and a delay in making some physical changes to the SGH emergency centre facilities that the CQC had previously recommended.

“This is a report into an inspection that took place nearly six months ago. The CQC’s own standards recommend such reports are published within 50 working days of the inspection so that the reports are as current and useful as possible to service providers and patients.

“As our patients and staff would expect, the trust has already taken significant steps to address the issues identified at the inspections, some of which took place as long ago as October 2015.”

Trust chair James Whittingham said the organisation had raised 423 points of factual accuracy on the draft inspection reports, adding that “a number of aspects of the inspection have given us cause for concern”.

Diana Princess of Wales Hospital in Grimsby was rated as “requires improvement”, while Goole Hospital was rated “good”.

CQC chief inspector of hospitals Professor Sir Mike Richards said: “Eighteen months ago, I could see Northern Lincolnshire and Goole FT was making real progress – and I was able to recommend that the trust should come out of special measures.

“My inspectors have found a positive change in some services, notably within critical care at Diana Princess of Wales hospital. Services at Goole Hospital are good. However we found that the services in A&E at Scunthorpe, outpatients and surgical services had either not improved or had deteriorated since our last inspection…

“I am particularly concerned by the backlog of patients waiting for outpatient follow up and the high levels of clinic cancellations, leaving some patients being cancelled time after time, without the involvement of doctors or nurses in reviewing their needs. Inevitably patients will suffer in those circumstances.”