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Friday, 03 July 2015

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Watchdog hails Barrow dementia unit’s staffing resolve

A BARROW dementia unit engulfed in scandal last year has continued to improve – according to a second inspection since the crisis.

The Ramsey Unit, in the grounds of Furness General Hospital, Barrow, was temporarily closed to new admissions after a Care Quality Commission inspection uncovered dangerously low staffing levels.

The lack of nursing staff led to elderly patients being hospitalised with dehydration.

It was later revealed nurses had tried to raise concerns – but were ignored by managers.

The CQC published a report yesterday after a second unannounced inspection in February.

The report said: “There were enough qualified, skilled and experienced staff to meet people's needs.

“We found that staffing levels on the unit had been maintained to the higher ratios. The nurse in charge of the ward told us that staff numbers were monitored extremely closely to ensure that these corresponded with the assessed needs of the patients.”

The report said staff no longer felt as if they were “firefighting” and could prevent unacceptable behaviour and “know their patients better”.

Claire Molloy, chief executive of the Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the unit, said: “It is very important that our staff members feel able to raise concerns at the earliest opportunity so that we can improve our services and bring about greater care for our patients.”

CPFT has signed up to a national campaign designed to improve patient safety by encouraging staff to raise any concerns about patient safety.

The trust officially announced its commitment to the Nursing Times Speak Out Safely campaign at the Ramsey Unit last week, with the help of Barrow MP John Woodcock and Liz Kendal, shadow minister for care and older people on a visit to the unit.

Mr Woodcock said: “It is important that those who work in our public services are able to speak out when they believe things are going wrong and the CPFT has acknowledged this by signing up to the Speak Out Safely campaign which encourages staff to raise any concerns they might have about quality and safety of patients’ care.”

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