Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust placed in special measures

Royal Lancaster Infirmary Image copyright (C) British Broadcasting Corporation
Image caption Medical care in one part of the Royal Lancaster Infirmary was of "particular concern" to inspectors

A failing health trust has been placed in special measures, meaning all Cumbria hospital trusts are now getting extra help to boost performance.

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust was rated as inadequate in an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

It said the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Furness General Hospital in Barrow needed to improve the quality of care.

The trust said it was "part-way through a process of significant improvement".

Last year, a separate trust covering the north of the county, North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust, was one of 11 put into special measures after the Keogh review found higher-than-expected mortality rates.

'History of concern'

The CQC inspection took place in February and while inspectors said care in services such as maternity and A&E had improved since previous checks, they added other areas of concern had not been addressed.

Medical care in one part of the Royal Lancaster was said to be "of particular concern".

The overall recruitment of nurses and doctors was identified as a "fundamental" worry with "too much reliance" on temporary staff.

The chief inspector of hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said: "There is a long history of concern with the quality of service provided by the trust, so it is disappointing to report that a number of the issues that have been identified in the past remain unresolved.

"I do not believe that the trust is likely to resolve its challenges without external support."

As well as the hospitals in Barrow and Lancaster, inspectors also visited the Westmorland General Hospital, near Kendal, which was said to be providing a good service overall.

The trust's chief executive, Jackie Daniel said: "The reports reflect the fact we are part-way through a process of significant improvement which is still going to take a number of years to complete.

"It isn't an overnight job to change the culture of a large, complex organisation."

Full reports of the inspection have been published on the CQC website.

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