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Saturday, 04 July 2015

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Hospital watchdog is told ‘staff are run ragged’ at Barrow hospital

PATIENTS and families shared their mixed experiences of Furness General Hospital in Barrow with a health watchdog.


The Care Quality Commission is this week inspecting the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, which runs FGH in Barrow.

Morecambe Bay was identified as having an “intermediate risk” through CQC’s intelligent monitoring tool.

Trust leaders, staff, patients and families will all be involved with the investigation process at FGH, Westmorland General in Kendal and the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

Around 40 people in eight inspection teams will be in the hospitals until Friday.

The areas scrutinised will include accident and emergency, surgical, medical, oncology, maternity, paediatrics, end of life and out patients, which will all be rated for an overall report.

Within 10 days of the visit, there will then be unannounced inspections.

The CQC held a listening event at The Forum in Barrow on Tuesday evening to record experiences of patients and their families.

The CQC wanted to know if the services at FGH were safe, caring, responsive, effective and well led. Members of the public spoke of some hospital staff being “run ragged”.

A Barrow family said they had been “disgusted” the end of life provision for their late loved one was “not there”. They claimed there was no palliative care and there were not enough thorough checks.

The relative said: “We don’t want a witch hunt but we want to see changes.

“There was not proper end of life care. It’s a specialist area.’’

A Barrow man said he was saddened to hear of concerns and did feel the loss of the oncology unit was a retrograde step, but said: “I feel very positive about the work that goes on in the hospital. The hospital is working very hard to make sure patients have positive experiences and good outcomes.”

Beverley Cole, the CQC’s commissioning compliance manager for Cumbria, said: “We wanted people to come to a forum where they feel safe to give us an idea of any concerns or any positive experiences of where the trust has done good work. We are looking for evidence to support how the trust is doing.

“We are looking at themes, positive and negative, which we can use to inform what we are looking at specifically. We have eight areas and we are looking at a lot of information we have collected from the trust. We are talking to commissioners of the service, local voluntary groups, anyone who would be involved with the health services. We want public opinion.”

The trust is one of 19 organisations being visited by the independent regulator during the second wave of new national hospital inspections.

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