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Wednesday, 01 July 2015

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Forging closer ties marks key progress in turning round trust which runs Barrow hospital

BETTER relationships between healthcare providers at the problem-plagued hospital trust which runs Furness General Hospital in Barrow are key to making improvements, according to leading doctors.

The issue was raised last week during discussions about the recent “inadequate” rating given to the organisation which runs Furness General Hospital.

During a governing board meeting of Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group, GPs responsible for deciding how the county’s health services are run described how they are working with their north Lancashire colleagues to make sure action is taken over June’s damning Care Quality Commission report.

The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust was placed into special measures on the advice of the health watchdog, following inspections at its sites in February. The final decision was taken by government regulator Monitor, which confirmed it would follow the recommendations of the CQC and introduce a package of measures to turn the hospital around.

Of the commissioning group’s action to help address the issue, as well as similar problems at the county’s North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, CCG chairman, Dr Hugh Reeve said: “There is still significant work that we have to continue to do with both of these organisations.

“The thing that I’m encouraged by is the relationships that exist now between these organisations and ours, and the local authority and the partnership trust. The system is taking more of a responsibility for this rather than individual organisations trying to fight their way out of this. There seems to be a more shared responsibility. But we shouldn’t underestimate the scale of the challenge.”

The governing body heard how relationships between the hospital trust and its fellow NHS organisations are better than they were two to three years ago.

The county’s GP commissioners believe that is key to solving the problems at UHMBT.

Lead GP for Furness, Geoff Jolliffe, said: “Our experience on the ground is that, as commissioners, we are working with the trust to really recognise the problems and try to solve them. So this isn’t to say ‘this is something that will go from bad to worse’ – this is something that will go from bad to better.”

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