Six months on: ULHT mark ‘significant improvements’ after being placed into special measures

This month marks one year since the CQC inspected United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) hospitals and six months since the trust was placed into special measures.

According to ULHT, staff have done extensive work to address issues raised by the CQC, and ‘significant progress has been made in improving the quality and safety of care delivered to patients’.

Areas where good progress has been made include:

  • Introduced a new temporary senior management team at Pilgrim hospital to drive through changes and two new permanent heads of nursing and two general managers have been employed to sustain these changes.
  • Launched a new voicing your concerns policy for staff, highlighting five ways they can raise concerns.
  • The “golden hour” protected time scheduled each day, where heads of nursing and matrons set aside the time to do structured checks of the wards to see how the trust is providing care to patients, to ensure that each area of the hospital is providing the same high quality standard of care.
  • All new health support care workers who join the trust are now automatically enrolled to complete the Care Certificate, which ensures they are all learning the same skills, knowledge and behaviours to provide compassionate, safe and high quality care, as well as opening up the opportunity to go on to study to become a registered nurse in future
  • Ward accreditation launched in October. Wards will be regularly inspected by a team of independent senior nurses and assessed against a range of 13 quality standards.
  • Welcomed 80 newly qualified nurses and new consultants to the trust.
  • Extensive work has been done on improving the trust’s health records, working on a casenote merge and repair, and the rollout of Patient Calling – a digital signage and patient information system in our outpatient departments.
  • The number of patients waiting over 12 weeks for a first outpatient appointment has halved.

Areas where ULHT are still making progress are:

  • Investing £2.5 million a month improving the fire safety of the trust’s hospitals which includes over 400 new fire doors.
  • Supporting our vulnerable patients better through training staff and improving the trust’s policies and practice around safeguarding and mental health. This includes updating policies around self harm, deprivation of liberty (DoLs) and duty of candour.
  • The trust’s appraisal rates are improving, with 80% of staff having had an appraisal as of September 2017. This compares with just 65% in March 2017.
  • Over half of our senior managers have successfully completed a two day leadership course on the qualities needed and the expectations of leaders at ULHT. The others are scheduled to complete the course by March 2018.

Chief Executive Jan Sobieraj said: “While it takes time to turnaround the quality and safety of services in a trust our size, we have made big strides over the last year.

“Getting out of clinical and financial special measures isn’t about working harder, but about working differently. Our staff are fantastic and I know that together we can really make ULHT great.

“There is still more to do, and we will strive to maintain progress delivered so far and bring about big change in many other areas.”

Work, which is currently underway, includes:

  • The trust’s infection prevention team has been re-structured and work has taken place around processes, policies and guidance.. Future work is planned around safe use of sharps and a campaign on hand hygiene.
  • ULHT is establishing a medical bank, to reduce the trust’s reliance on agency doctors.  The trust has also been to a number of recruitment fairs to encourage medical staff to join ULHT, and more work is being done on the Lincolnshire attraction strategy to really push that work forward.