CQC warns over care at Barrow and Lancaster hospitals

Furness General Hospital
Image caption Patient monitoring at Furness General in Barrow was criticised by the CQC

The trust that runs hospitals in south Cumbria has been given a further two warnings by the health watchdog.

The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust has been subjected to numerous investigations, warnings and reports in recent months.

Now it has been criticised by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) over emergency care and use of mixed wards at units in Barrow and also at Lancaster.

The trust said it was working with the CQC on improvements.

The warnings specifically relate to an emergency assessment unit at Lancaster being used for patients of both sexes, and a ward at Barrow where staff did not monitor a patient who was exposing themselves.

Removing bedclothes

A CQC spokesman said: "When patients are not being monitored appropriately, there is a greater risk that their condition will worsen.

"Our observations confirmed that the trust was failing to follow Department of Health guidance in relation to mixed sex accommodation. This means that the trust is failing to respect the dignity and privacy of patients.

"It is also important that a patient's care is based on the assessed needs of that patient, and our inspectors observed care that was not centred on the patient as an individual.

"For example, inspectors observed an elderly patient who kept removing their bedclothes and exposing themselves to the ward.

"No nursing staff were available to help ensure the privacy and dignity of this patient was maintained."

Trust chairman Sir David Henshaw said: "Day in, day out our staff treat the majority of patients with high a level of care and professionalism and we appreciate the support and goodwill of our staff, which has been considerable - we do not take it for granted.

"However, the level of care, safety and experience that investigators recently identified in some cases is completely unacceptable."

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