Lincolnshire hospitals: Trust has six months to improve

Lincoln County Hospital
Image caption Lincoln County Hospital failed in all seven national standards looked at during the inspections

Hospital managers in Lincolnshire have been given six months to correct a catalogue of failures identified by inspectors.

The county's hospitals trust was placed in special measures following critical reports into patient care.

Most of the problems at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust centre on a lack of staff.

The trust has taken on 100 nurses, recruiting in Portugal, Greece and Spain, but faces a £10m deficit.

The trust came under the spotlight as part of the Keogh review in light of the Stafford Hospital scandal and was one of 11 placed in special measures.

This was followed up by a Care Quality Commission inspection in June and July.

It said it had made improvements to its working practices including an overhaul of the complaints system, getting board members to regularly walk the wards and meet clinical staff as well as the recruitment drive.

While health chiefs said this had helped improve its mortality rate, costs have been rising and it is currently running a deficit of almost £10m for this financial year.

Chief executive Jane Lewington said the Trust would work closely with its partner agencies as well as looking at the services it offers to ensure it is not "financially destabilised".

She said it will spend the winter making changes before a government inspection in another six months.

Ms Lewington said: "The scale and pace of the improvement and change needs to increase significantly.

"That's the challenge for the team because [the action plan] is broad-ranging, we go from staffing to moving to seven-day working, and making sure the board is linking much more closely with clinical teams."

To help with the changes Sir Andrew Cash, from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, has been appointed by the government to work with the trust.

The Trust cannot be taken out of special measures before the inspection in spring 2014.

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