Hospital trust claims to be ‘heading in right direction’ as CQC upgrades its status but services at Boston’s Pilgrim still rated ‘inadequate’ overall

Pilgrim Hospital
Pilgrim Hospital

The CEO of Lincolnshire’s hospitals Jan Sobieraj, says his organisation is “moving in the right direction” as an improved Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection report is published today (Tuesday) - but the Trust still requires improvement.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) has moved up on its overall rating of ‘inadequate’ to ‘requires improvement’ and is said to be making steady progress on its journey to become a ‘good’ rated Trust.

Sustained improvements, including progress on recruitment of staff, ambulance handover times and a back to basics focus on quality of care, saw 72 per cent of the Trust’s ratings coming out as ‘good’, which is an improvement on last time.

However, work is still required on a number of services, including some at Pilgrim hospital in Boston which was still rated as ‘inadequate’ overall.

The hard work and dedication of staff across all sites is what most impressed the CQC during their inspection in March this year, something that the ULHT chief executive is extremely proud of.

Mr Sobieraj said: “This report shows real progress and shows everyone, our patients, staff and stakeholders that we are clearly moving in the right direction to improved and sustained quality of care.

“I’m extremely proud of all our staff, who have worked together and taken on board the challenges we face – there is more work to do but we are in a better place than we were a year ago that’s for sure.

“At the time of the inspection, we were facing unprecedented winter challenges, particularly at our Pilgrim Hospital in Boston. Our focus now will be to address the problems we know still exist and look to strengthen all our services as part of our continued 2021 strategy going forward.”

The busiest winter on record and recent staffing difficulties in paediatric services, particularly in Boston, has seen the Trust face some of its most challenging times in recent months.

The inspection team highlighted many areas of good practice in their report. Some of these included:

• An improved patient safety culture within the Trust, with caring staff treating patients with dignity, respect and kindness

• Older people’s care was praised for focus on dementia patients at Lincoln and Pilgrim and reducing the risk of malnutrition, distress and falls

• Improvements in the management of the sickest patients including detection and treatment of sepsis.

• Staff on the stroke ward at Pilgrim working above and beyond their clinical duties to arrange for a long-term patient to carry out their wedding ceremony on the unit.

• Care and treatment was mostly planned and delivered in line with evidence-based guidance, standards and best practise

• A most improved culture at Pilgrim hospital site, with staff saying they felt valued and committed to delivering the best care they could, with examples of how the safety culture had improved

• Improved culture of learning from incidents and improvements to ensure patients living with a learning disability or dementia were identified more easily at Grantham hospital.

• A robust system for pre-operative assessment with clear admission criteria, comprehensive infection control and prevention and risk assessments for all patients at County Hospital, Louth.

Tracy Pilcher, Chief Nurse from ULHT’s lead commissioning body, Lincolnshire East Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We continue to support and work collaboratively with the Trust, NHS Improvement and NHS England to improve the quality of care provided to the patients of Lincolnshire.

“The Trust developed, and has been working towards, a quality improvement plan to support progress in key areas identified by the CQC, following the previous inspection in October 2016. It is encouraging to note there have been some

improvements in care; however we recognise there is still more to do.

“There needs to be a particular focus with regards to improving services at Pilgrim Hospital, in order to ensure the delivery of high quality care.

“The CCG remains committed to work collaboratively with the Trust, NHS Improvement and NHS England to support delivery against the quality improvement plan and would like to reassure everyone that we remain dedicated to providing the

highest quality of care to the patients of Lincolnshire.”

Jeff Worrall, Regional Delivery and Improvement Director at NHS Improvement, said: “While there is still some way to go, today’s report shows that the Trust is heading in the right direction. Patients will be reassured that the trust has once again been rated ‘good’ for caring, and staff can be proud of that.

“Ensuring that improvements are sustainable from this point onwards is our primary focus. The Trust remaining in special measures for the time being is the right thing for patients - the support package we have in place as part of the programme will ensure that that the improvements made are lasting ones.”

To view the full CQC report on ULHT, visit the CQC website here.