• Ambulance waiting times, patient dignity and overcrowding among highlighted areas
  • United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust chief executive says “significant efforts” to improve staffing, systems and processes are being made

A hospital trust chief in Lincolnshire has apologised to patients after two emergency departments were given the lowest rating by inspectors for the second time in a year.

The Care Quality Commission said United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust must make urgent improvements after rating both Pilgrim and Lincoln County hospitals’ emergency departments as “inadequate”.

The regulator noted concerns from its inspections in January including handover delays of more than 100 minutes for patients arriving by ambulance at Lincoln County, overcrowding at both hospitals, and the manner that some staff treated patients at Pilgrim.

Both departments received the same overall rating at previous inspections in June and July last year.

UHL’s chief executive Andrew Morgan issued an apology on behalf of the trust and said they had “fallen short” of expectations. 

The reports, published today, also noted patients at Lincoln County “remained on assessment trolleys for extended periods of time” while at Pilgrim Hospital “some staff did not treat patients with compassion and kindness nor did they respect their kindness and dignity”.

Both emergency departments were rated “inadequate” for safety, responsiveness and leadership. Pilgrim Hospital was also rated “inadequate” for care.

The CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, Ted Baker, said: “The trust has a lot of work to do to reduce pressures on the emergency departments and they must ensure all improvements made are sustained. We will continue to monitor the trust closely and will return to inspect in due course.”

The trust received similar criticisms in its last inspection. At the time, Mr Morgan told HSJ standards at Lincoln County had slipped as attention was diverted elsewhere.

In response to the latest reports, he said: “Following the release of the latest CQC inspection report into the emergency departments at Lincoln County Hospital and Pilgrim Hospital, Boston, we would firstly like to apologise. 

“We recognise that the level of care provided, and the experience of our patients, has fallen short of what we, and our patients, would expect.

“We would like to reassure our patients that we have been making significant efforts to improve the staffing, systems and processes in the departments to ensure that we can provide the best quality emergency care to the people of Lincolnshire.”