March 17, 2022 1.00 pm

Special measures lift at Lincolnshire hospitals for first time in almost five years

The trust has been under these measures since April 2017

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust has been taken out of special measures thanks to widespread improvements found through a recent Care Quality Commission report.

The trust was first placed into special measures, otherwise known as the national recovery support programme, in April 2017, when concerns around financial management and quality of care were flagged up.

ULHT says it has worked tirelessly to make improvements since that declaration, and its latest CQC report, published last month, increased ratings from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’ in numerous categories, such as effectiveness and leadership.

Boston Pilgrim Hospital. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The rating for care remained as ‘good’ and safety and responsiveness stayed at ‘requires improvement’, but the CQC has now recommended the trust, which looks after hospitals in Lincoln, Boston, Grantham and Louth, be taken off the recovery support programme.

This recommendation has been approved by NHS England and NHS Improvement with immediate effect, as recognition for the hard work put in by staff at ULHT to put right the areas that needed additional focus.

Andrew Morgan. | Photo: ULHT

ULHT chief executive, Andrew Morgan, said: “We are delighted that the decision has been made to move us out of special measures. This is in recognition of the huge amount of work that our amazing staff have done to improve the quality of care for our patients in recent years and the improvement in financial governance and control that we have achieved.

“We are grateful for the intensive support that we have received as part of special measures over the years. We know that there is still work to do, but lots of exciting developments are already underway and I am confident that that we will now continue to go from strength to strength.”

The improvements came at a truly testing time for hospitals across the country, not least in Lincolnshire, as staff attempted to navigate their way through the COVID-19 pandemic.

A critical incident was declared at Lincoln County Hospital at the end of 2021, as a result of severe staff shortages, and it even resulted in military reinforcements being brought in to assist hospital staff.

The 2021/22 NHS System Oversight Framework required trusts to be evaluated and placed into one of four categories, numbered one to four.

ULHT was placed in segment four, meaning it received mandated support from NHS England and NHS Improvement, as well as mandated intensive support delivered through the recovery support programme.