December 2, 2022 12.01 am This story is over 16 months old

Northern Lincolnshire hospitals set to leave Quality Special Measures, but still require improvement

Inspectors found delays in every part of the patient journey

Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Foundation Trust has been rated ‘requires improvement’ again by the Care Quality Commission, but inspectors noted improvements had been made since their last visit.

NLAG provides hospital and community services across the North and North East Lincolnshire and the East Riding of Yorkshire areas. It has around 750 beds in three hospitals.

The overall trust rating remains rated as ‘requires improvement’, as well as effective, responsive and well-led. Safe has improved from ‘inadequate’ to ‘requires improvement’. Caring remains rated as ‘good’.

| Source: CQC

The trust’s three hospitals were given the following ratings:

  • Diana Princess of Wales Hospital – Remains ‘requires improvement’ overall, and for being effective, responsive and well-led. Safe has improved from ‘inadequate’ to ‘requires improvement’, caring remains rated as ‘good’
  • Goole and District Hospital – overall the hospital has improved from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’. How safe and responsive the hospital is has improved from ‘inadequate’ to ‘good’. Effective and caring have remained rated as ‘good’, and well-led has remained rated as ‘requires improvement’
  • Scunthorpe General Hospital – the overall rating remains rated as ‘requires improvement’, as well as effective, responsive and well-led. Safe has improved from ‘inadequate’ to ‘requires improvement’, and caring remains rated as ‘good’

NLAG says that noted improvements to leadership, safety and complaints mean the trust has achieved what is necessary to leave Quality Special Measures. This has been in place since 2017.

However, the CQC found delays in every part of the patient journey and people were staying too long in hospital due to discharge issues. More work was required to build an open culture and improve communication with people, their families and staff, and the visibility of senior leaders was variable across the services inspected.

Sarah Dronsfield, CQC head of hospital inspection, said: “When we inspected Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust, we found the leadership had improved since our last visit, and we were pleased to see they had started to make some improvements, however more work was required to make sure these were sustained and embedded across the whole organisation.

“The board had identified where they needed to make changes to improve both people’s experience of services and the culture within the organisation, and for the changes to be reflected in positive outcomes for people.

“Although, we found across most services there still wasn’t enough staff with the right qualifications, skills, training and experience to meet people’s needs. The trust must continue to address this as a priority.

“Additionally, in the trust’s urgent and emergency care services. People couldn’t access services when they needed it and continued to experience long delays waiting for treatment. There were also long ambulance handover times as a result of access and flow issues.

“However, most people were happy with the care provided and it was evident that staff worked hard to achieve the best possible outcomes for people throughout the services we inspected.

“We will continue to monitor the trust to make sure changes are made and embedded, and we will return to check on progress.”

Trust Chief Executive Peter Reading said: “I am proud to see improvements recognised in this report and want to thank our wonderful staff who go ‘above and beyond’ to provide the high standards of care that our local communities deserve. Over the five years I’ve been working here I have seen thousands of times just how hard they work and how determined they are to offer great standards of care; it’s really heartening to see a recognition of their efforts reflected in this report.

“Being able to retain our ‘Requires Improvement’ rating is no mean feat given the context staff are working in, from the challenges of the pandemic to the huge demand on our services and the sheer amount of changes we are making to improve services. Although we remain ‘Requires Improvement’ we have moved up the rankings within that band and are much closer to ‘Good’ than we were.

“The key headline from the report is that we have improved in our Safety ratings across the board and our staff can be proud that we are rated ‘Good’ for caring in every service in all three hospitals. I hope this inspires confidence amongst our local community and reassurance that if they do need to use our services, they can be confident they’ll have a good experience.

“We know we have more to do; too many people are waiting too long for treatment, and we need to do more to recruit and retain staff.”