• Standards slipped at Lincoln County Hospital as attentions were diverted
  • Andrew Morgan reveals intention to stay on at United Lincolnshire beyond secondment

Emergency services at one of Lincolnshire’s largest hospitals were rated “inadequate” because staff were too busy trying to make improvements on another site.

Andrew Morgan, interim head of United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, said the Care Quality Commission ratings for Lincoln County Hospital had suffered as the trust tried to make improvements at Pilgrim Hospital, in Boston.

The trust will remain in special measures for a third year after inspectors visited in the summer.

Mr Morgan said: “That was one of the comments (that was) part of the CQC’s view, that we were trying to sort out Pilgrim and our attention was diverted off Lincoln. Their view was that Lincoln went backwards.”

In the CQC report, Lincoln County’s urgent and emergency services dropped to inadequate from “requires improvement”. It was rated requires improvement overall, the same as the previous inspection.

Inspectors said the services did not have staff with the right skills, training and experience to keep patients safe, and in the week before inspection less than two-thirds of patients were admitted, transferred or discharged from the hospital within four hours.

While Pilgrim Hospital improved its overall inadequate rating to requires improvement, its urgent and emergency care services and its services for children and young people remained inadequate. The overall rating for safety was also downgraded to inadequate.

Inspectors noted that its urgent and emergency care department was too small to meet demand which resulted in patients being treated in corridors or its central space.

The trust kept its overall requires improvement rating after failing to improve in any of the five key domains. It was placed in special measures two years ago and regulators have now set out a list of improvements it must achieve.

Mr Morgan, who joined the trust on secondment from the “outstanding”-rated Lincolnshire Community Health Services Trust in July, also said he wants to stay at ULHT beyond his initial secondment. 

It has not yet been established whether any extension to his ULHT contract would be permanent or how it might affect the leadership of LCHST.

He added: “I also believe that these issues that this trust faces are sortable. It’s going to be really hard work (but) I keep saying to people that there’s nothing I haven’t seen here, there’s nothing unique to it. There’s lots of issues but they are not completely unique.”