• Hospital
  • NHS hospital

Scunthorpe General Hospital

Overall: Requires improvement read more about inspection ratings

Cliff Gardens, Scunthorpe, South Humberside, DN15 7BH (01724) 282282

Provided and run by:
Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust

All Inspections

Other CQC inspections of services

Community & mental health inspection reports for Scunthorpe General Hospital can be found at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust. Each report covers findings for one service across multiple locations

28th-30th June

During a routine inspection

Scunthorpe General Hospital (SGH) is one of the three hospital sites for Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust. It is located in Scunthorpe and provides acute hospital services to the local population.

SGH is the trust’s second largest hospital. It offers a range of inpatient and outpatient services including urgent and emergency care, medical care, surgery, critical care, maternity, end of life and outpatients and diagnostic services for children, young people and adults primarily in the North Lincolnshire area.

24 September to 27 September 2019

During a routine inspection

Our rating of services stayed the same. We rated it them as requires improvement because:

  • There had been little progress identified in this inspection and in some services a deterioration.
  • Within outpatients continued backlogs were identified and within diagnostic imaging there was also an increased backlog of patient awaiting diagnostic image services and the subsequent reporting of x-rays. There were unknown risks due to these backlogs.
  • There had been incidents where patients had come to harm due to delays in receiving appointments in both outpatients and diagnostic imaging. We had concerns regarding this and after the inspection, the Care Quality Commission completed a section 31 letter of intent to seek further clarification from the trust.
  • Within end of life we were concerned about the timeliness of pain relief given to patients and lack of documentation which would enable to trust to monitor the effectiveness of care and treatment and drive improvement.
  • Across most services there was still insufficient numbers of staff within the right qualifications, skills, training and experience to keep patients safe from avoidable harm and to provide the right care and treatment.
  • The service provided mandatory training in key skills to staff but had not ensured everyone had completed it. Across most services there were continued low levels of mandatory training.
  • We had ongoing concerns that patients with mental health conditions were not always cared for in a safe environment.
  • Within the emergency department there were significant numbers of black breaches and the department failed to meet the medium time to initial assessment.
  • The services did not always provide care and treatment in line with national guidance and best practice. We found examples of this in some of the core services inspected.
  • The services did not ensure that staff were competent to carry out their roles and compliance with annual appraisals continued to be low.
  • Services were not always planned to meet the needs of local services. This was particularly so in end of life services.
  • Waiting times, referral to treatment and arrangements to admit, treat and discharge across a number of core services continued to be a challenge. People could not always access the services when they needed to.
  • Investigations of complaints were not managed in a timely way and in line with trust policy.
  • Across most services there continued to be a lack of clear strategies at this level.
  • Systems to manage performance were not consistently used to improve performance.
  • There continued to be changes in the governance structures and processes which had not become embedded and therefore there was limited oversight.
  • There was limited evidence of continuous improvement and innovation across most core services.


  • Staff treated patients with compassion and kindness, respected their privacy and dignity, and took account of their individual needs.
  • Overall staff felt respected, supported and valued.
  • Most services had an open culture where patients, their families and staff could raise concerns without fear.

8 May 2018

During an inspection looking at part of the service

Our rating of services improved. We rated it them as requires improvement because:

  • We rated safe, effective, responsive and well led as requires improvement and caring and as good.
  • At this inspection we saw improvements in some of the hospital’s services, but some services had deteriorated since our previous inspection.
  • We rated two of the hospital’s nine services as good, six as requires improvement and one as inadequate.
  • The hospital did not have a systematic or timely approach to quality improvement. We identified concerns in some services that had not been acted upon or changes had not been embedded or sustained from previous inspections.
  • The hospital did not always have appropriate numbers of staff to ensure patients received safe care and treatment. The trust had introduced some additional staff and roles and used agency staff to provide cover and mitigate some of the risk to patients.
  • There was limited evidence that service staff had the skills, training and experience to provide the right care and treatment. For example, appraisal rates for a number of staff groups were worse than the trust target and mandatory training rates in seven of the nine services at the hospital were below the trust target of 85%.
  • Not all services provided care and treatment based on national guidance. There was variable participation and outcomes in local and national audit and we found action plans did not always address the effectiveness of the care and treatment patients received.
  • People could not always access services when they needed it. The total number of patients on outpatient waiting lists had increased since the previous inspection.
  • Services did not always manage and investigate concerns and complaints in line with the trust’s policy.
  • Services at the hospital did all not have a vision, strategy or business plan. There was limited evidence of effective engagement with patients, staff, and the public to plan and manage services.


  • The trust had acted on most of the concerns in the Section 29A warning notice that was issued after the inspection in November 2016.
  • Staff used appropriate tools for identifying deteriorating patients and patients with sepsis. Audits showed good compliance with these tools and escalation processes. Nurses told us that medical response to patients they escalated was prompt.
  • Staff worked together as a team to benefit patients. Doctors, nurses, porters, other healthcare professionals and non-clinical staff supported each other to provide good care.
  • Staff cared for patients with compassion. Feedback from patients confirmed that staff treated them well and with kindness. Staff involved patients and those close to them in decisions about their care and treatment.
  • Staff morale appeared to be improving and most staff reported feeling well-supported by their immediate line managers.

15 June 2017

During an inspection looking at part of the service

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) undertook an announced inspection of Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust between the 22 and 25 November 2016 and an unannounced inspection on the 8 December 2016. Following these inspections, the CQC issued the trust with a Section 29A warning notice which stated that the quality of health care provided by the trust required significant improvement.

We had significant concerns relating to:

  • Staffing shortages and a lack of escalation processes about the shortages was putting patients at risk.
  • The lack of patient assessment and/or escalation of patients identified as being at risk was causing patients’ safety to be compromised.
  • There was insufficient management oversight and governance of the identified risks.

We undertook an unannounced inspection on 15 June 2017. The purpose of this was to follow up on the actions the trust had told us they had taken in relation to the Section 29A warning notice issued in January 2017. At this inspection we found the trust had not taken sufficient, timely action to address all our concerns.

CQC will not be providing a rating to Scunthorpe General Hospital for this inspection. The reason for not providing a rating is because this was a very focused inspection carried out to assess whether the trust had made significant improvement to services within the required time frame. Therefore not all of the five domains: safe, effective, caring, responsive and well led were reviewed for each of the core services we inspected.

At this inspection we found:

  • There were still gaps in resuscitation equipment, medicine fridge temperature recording and cleaning checklists in the emergency department (ED).
  • The completion of patient records in the ED remained variable. We saw gaps in pain, nutrition and hydration, falls and pressure damage risk assessments.
  • There was no assurance that safeguarding assessments had taken place in the ED.
  • Sepsis pathways were not always completed or completed fully and antibiotics were not always given in a timely manner.
  • Staff in the ED had not completed Paediatric Early Warning Scores (PEWS) in most records we reviewed.
  • We had security concerns regarding the electronic medicine key system for controlled drugs.
  • Entry to the resuscitation room in the ED remained a security risk.
  • Actual staffing levels did not always match the planned staffing levels in maternity and the ED.
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) surgical safety checklist was not consistently embedded in maternity.
  • We found inconsistencies in how staff in the maternity service recorded delays in patient care.
  • We saw that new processes had been implemented to allow oversight of risks and governance including a nursing dashboard. However, the evidence we found was not always consistent with the information recorded on the nursing dashboard.
  • The trust had improved its capacity and demand planning, however, this had not been embedded across all specialties.
  • The trust had some significant challenges to deliver against the referral to treatment standards.


  • The ED was now visibly clean and tidy.
  • Emergency equipment in maternity was now checked in line with trust policies.
  • A new children’s waiting area and ambulance entrance had been opened in the ED.
  • National early warning scores (NEWS) were recorded in all adult patients’ notes we checked.
  • Clinical records in maternity were now completed in line with trust policy.
  • New nursing documentation had been introduced in the ED.
  • We observed staff in the ED offering patients food and drinks.
  • The maternity service had completed a review of staffing levels using the Birthrate Plus® midwifery workforce-planning tool.
  • The trust had developed a maternity services escalation policy.
  • We found that the management of patients with mental health problems in the ED had improved. The room was ligature free and a standard operating procedure had been introduced.

Professor Ted Baker 

Chief Inspector of Hospitals

17 October, 22 - 25 November 2016 and 8 December 2016

During an inspection looking at part of the service

We carried out a follow-up inspection of Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust from 22 to 25 November 2016 to confirm whether the trust had made improvements to its services since our last inspection in October 2015. We also undertook an unannounced inspection on 17 October 2016 and 08 December 2016.

To get to the heart of patients’ experiences of care and treatment we always ask the same five questions of all services: are they safe, effective, caring, responsive to people’s needs, and well-led? Where we have a legal duty to do so, we rate services’ performance against each key question as outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate.

When we last inspected this trust, in October 2015, we rated the trust overall as ’requires improvement’. We rated safe, effective, responsive, and well led as ‘requires improvement. We rated caring as ‘good. Scunthorpe General Hospital (SGH) was rated as inadequate overall, Diana Princess of Wales Hospital (DPoW) was rated as ‘requires improvement’ overall and Goole District Hospital was rated ‘good’ overall. In community services community adult services was rated as ‘requires improvement’ overall, end of life care was rated as ‘requires improvement’ overall, children’s and young people’s services was rated as good overall with safe rated as ‘requires improvement’ and dental services was rated as ‘good’ overall.

Following the inspection in October 2015, there were six breaches of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations. These were in relation to staffing, safe care and treatment, dignity and respect, premises and equipment, good governance and need for consent.

The trust sent us an action plan telling us how it would ensure that it had made improvements required in relation to these breaches of regulation. At this inspection we checked whether these actions had been completed.

In November 2016 we inspected:

  • Diana Princess of Wales Hospital.
  • Scunthorpe General Hospital.
  • Community Adult Services – safe and well led domains.
  • Community end of life care services – effective, responsive and well led domains.
  • Community children and young people’s services – safe domain.

We did not inspect Goole District Hospital as the services provided at this hospital were rated as good in October 2015. We carried out a follow up inspection of community services and looked specifically at the domains that were rated as ‘requires improvement’ following the October 2015 inspection.

We rated Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust as inadequate overall. Safe and well led were rated as ‘inadequate’, effective and responsive were rated as ‘requires improvement’ and caring was rated as ‘good’.

We rated Scunthorpe General Hospital as inadequate overall.

Key Findings:

  • Nursing and medical staffing had improved in some areas since the last inspection. However, there were still a number of nursing and medical staffing vacancies throughout the trust. Staff turnover in some areas were particularly high especially in medical care, emergency departments, surgical services, and services for children and young people.
  • The trust had systems in place to manage staffing shortfall as well as escalation processes to maintain safe patient care. However, a number of registered nurse shifts remained unfilled, despite these escalation processes and we saw examples of wards not meeting planned staffing levels and high patient acuity not identified appropriately.
  • There had been a lack of improvement since the inspection in 2015, areas of concern had not been fully addressed in a sustained way and there had been deterioration in a number of services. Safety processes were not always adhered to in some services.
  • In 2015, we said that the trust must ensure there is an effective process for providing consistent feedback and learning from incidents. During this inspection, learning from incidents remained inconsistent and variable between directorates. Staff we spoke to reported a varying standard of feedback and learning from incidents.  
  • Assessing and responding to patient risk was inconsistent and did not support early identification of deterioration in maternity, surgery and urgent and emergency services. This was particularly evident in the Emergency Department (ED) at Scunthorpe General Hospital (SGH), where the national early warning scores (NEWS) were not recorded in the majority of records we reviewed.
  • A Paediatric Early Warning Score (PEWS) was not used in the Emergency Department, so we were unable to be sure that the identification and escalation of deterioration in a child’s condition would be recognised.
  • The trust used the five steps to safer surgery procedures including the World Health Organisation (WHO) checklist. However, from a review of records and observations of procedures, it was apparent that this was not an embedded consistent process.
  • The standard of documentation was variable, for example in the ED at SGH; documentation was variable and at times inadequate to ensure delivery of safe care.
  • During our inspection, the ED at SGH was overcrowded with no resuscitation bays or trolleys available. Patients were queuing with paramedics waiting for a cubicle and we saw and heard evidence of patients put at risk due to unavailable space.
  • There were poor infection prevention and control processes and standards of cleanliness in the ED at SGH. Mandatory training rates in infection control were variable across the hospital with low rates in the areas where concerns were identified.
  • We found inconsistent practice with regard to resuscitation trolley checks, fridge temperature checks and medication checks across the hospital.
  • We were not assured patients had adequate nutrition and hydration whilst they were in the Emergency Department for a long period of time.
  • Patient flow through the hospital remained an issue with a significant number of patients cared for on non-medical or non-speciality wards. A ‘buddy’ ward system was in place, however there was still confusion regarding which consultant should review which patient. Patients who were moved more than once could be under the care of different consultants during their stay in hospital.
  • There was a high number of black breaches (ambulances waiting for over one hour) at this trust between December 2015 and September 2016, there were 694 black breaches.
  • Patients requiring pre-assessment prior to surgery were not always assessed according to an effective patient pathway. There remained a large number of ‘on the day’ cancellations for clinical reasons.
  • Referral to treatment times across a number of services showed a deteriorating position and was significantly below the national indicator and slightly below the England average. Patients were not always able to access services for assessment, diagnosis or treatment when they needed them. There were long wait times within surgical services and overall the service was not meeting the national referral to treatment times (RTT) or all cancer performance standards.
  • Emergency Department performance was variable and between August 2015 and July 2016 the department did not achieve the target for 95% of patients to be treated, discharged or admitted within four hours.
  • In 2015, we raised concerns regarding the numbers and reporting processes of mixed sex accommodation breaches. The trust had updated the policy for eliminating mixed sex accommodation, which was in line with Department of Health guidance (November 2010). However, the trust has continued to report mixed sex breaches in a number of core services. For example in medicine at SGH, 14 mixed sex breaches had been reported.
  • The trust participated in national and local audit programmes however, trust performance against national performance was mixed across most of the core services with many showing performance that was worse than England averages. There was also variation in patient outcomes between the two hospital sites. Patient outcomes were overall worse at SGH than DPoW.
  • Mandatory training and appraisal targets had not been met by some staff groups. This included safeguarding training targets and not all staff had the required level of safeguarding training in place.
  • At the 2015 inspection we were told that were plans to introduce a seven day 24 hour gastro-intestinal (GI) bleed rota. At this inspection we found that this was still not in place. Agreement had been reached for consultant rota cover however further work was being undertaken to agree the nursing rota.
  • The endoscopy unit had lost their Joint Accreditation Group (JAG) accreditation in August 2016 due to an audit that was not submitted within the necessary timescales and communication issues.
  • In maternity services we had concerns regarding the completion of the K2 training package (an interactive computer based training system that covered CTG interpretation and fetal monitoring) for midwives and medical staff in maternity.
  • We found poor leadership and oversight in a number of services, notably maternity services, outpatients, surgery and urgent and emergency care. In these services leaders had not led and managed required service improvements effectively or in a timely manner. In addition service leads had tolerated high levels of risks to quality and safety without taking appropriate and timely action to address them.
  • There was variability in the quality of risk registers, not all risk registers accurately reflected the risks in the service and were not always updated and reviewed effectively.
  • Concerns remained regarding the organisational culture. There were a number of themes that emerged from discussions with staff relating to a disconnection still between the executive team and staff, there was a sense of fear amongst some staff groups regarding repercussions of raising concerns and bullying and harassment. Feedback from management teams had a more positive focus.


  • The trust had taken action in some areas since the 2015 inspection, for example, the trust had stopped using Band 4 nurses, awaiting professional registration numbers, within the registered nurse establishment.
  • There were improvements in critical care services, the management team were able to articulate a clear vision and governance processes were effective.
  • There was a new management team in surgery that were able to demonstrate an understanding of the challenges and the areas that required further improvement. They had only recently come into post and had not had sufficient time to implement the changes required to address the ongoing concerns.
  • At SGH the Ambulatory Care Unit (ACU), which opened in September 2015, had a positive impact on patient flow.
  • There was evidence of good multidisciplinary working in most of the services. A frail elderly assessment team (FEAST) attended ED liaising with the community teams and the service offered hyper acute stroke services with acute stroke nurses attending ED.
  • In critical care patient outcomes, for example, mortality, early readmissions, delayed and out of hours discharges had improved and were in line with similar units.
  • There were improvements in the ophthalmology service specifically with regard to the cancellation of clinics and clinical oversight of this process
  • All radiology staff had received training regarding the ionising radiation (medical exposure) regulations (IR (ME) R 2000).
  • Overall we observed staff treating patients with dignity and respect. Patients told us staff were caring, attentive and helpful. Staff responded compassionately to pain, discomfort, and emotional distress in a timely and appropriate way..

We saw several areas of good practice including:

  • An ambulance handover team, to see ambulance patients and provide an initial assessment, had been introduced and was providing a positive impact on the ambulance turnaround times.
  • There was a new initiative called the virtual ward. Two health care assistants were available all day Sunday to Friday and half days on Saturdays. They were deployed to an elderly medical ward at the start of their shift, and then re-deployed to any area with short notice absence or where one to one patient care was required.
  • The Ambulatory Care Unit (ACU) opened in September 2015 and had a positive impact on patient flow at the Scunthorpe General Hospital site. This had resulted in a significant reduction in length of stay of almost 2 days, an increase in zero length of stay patients and a significant reduction in medical outliers.
  • A online call service run by the infant feeding co-ordinator was being offered to support breast feeding mothers within the community setting.
  • The trust had held 'Dying Matters' roadshows at a number of local venues in May 2016, including supermarkets and community centres. These had been advertised as events to provide advice and sign-posting to members of the public on all aspects of planning end of life care, bereavement, dying, organ donation, and will-writing.
  • The Macmillan end of life care clinical coordinator had been in post for ten months. During that time, 400 staff had attended educational sessions and the new end of life care plan had been implemented on 11 wards. An end of life care facilitator had also been appointed recently.
  • The diagnostic imaging departments had begun a pilot in conjunction with primary care for radiologists to refer patients straight to CT following an abnormal chest x-ray. When patients were seen in clinic as a two-week wait, they already had CT scans and results available for the clinician at their first appointments. This potentially reduces lung cancer patients’ length of pathway.

However, there were also areas of poor practice where the trust needs to make improvements, importantly:

  • The trust must ensure that service risk registers are regularly reviewed, updated and include all relevant risks to the service.
  • The trust must monitor and address mixed sex accommodation breaches.
  • The trust must continue to improve its Paediatric Early Warning Score (PEWS) system to ensure timely assessment and response for children and young people using services.
  • The trust must ensure that, following serious incidents or never events, root causes and lessons learned are identified and shared with staff, especially within maternity and surgery.
  • The trust must ensure that effective processes are in place to enable access to theatres out of hours, including obstetric theatres, and that all cases are clinically prioritised appropriately.
  • Ensure that the five steps to safer surgery including the World Health Organisation (WHO) safety checklist is implemented consistently within surgical services
  • The trust must ensure there are effective planning, management oversight and governance processes in place, especially within maternity, ED and outpatients. This includes ensuring effective systems to implement, record and monitor the flow of patients through ED, outpatients and diagnostic services.
  • The trust must ensure the proper and safe management of medicines including: checking that fridge temperatures used for the storage of medication are checked on a daily basis in line with the trust’s policy
  • The trust must ensure that there are effective processes in place to support staff and that staff are trained in the recognition of safeguarding concerns including all staff caring for children and young people receiving the appropriate level of safeguarding training and in outpatient services.
  • The trust must ensure that actions are taken to enable staff to raise concerns without fear of negative repercussions.
  • The trust must ensure that a patient’s capacity is clearly documented and where a patient is deemed to lack capacity this is assessed and managed appropriately in line with the Mental Capacity Act (2005).
  • The trust must ensure that policies and guidelines in use within clinical areas are compliant with NICE or other clinical bodies.

Emergency and Urgent Care

  • The trust must ensure that there are the appropriate systems in place to maintain the cleanliness of the ED at SGH to prevent the spread of infections.
  • The trust must ensure that effective timely assessment and/or escalation processes are in place, including the use of the National Early Warning Score (NEWS), so that patients’ safety and care is not put at risk, especially within ED.
  • The trust must ensure that timely initial assessment of patients arriving at ED takes place and that the related nationally reported data is accurate.
  • The trust must ensure that ambulance staff are able to promptly register patients on arrival at the ED.
  • The trust must ensure that patients are assessed for pain relief; appropriate action is taken and recorded within the patients’ notes.
  • The trust must ensure that patients in ED receive the appropriate nursing care to meet their basic needs, such as pressure area care and being offered adequate nutrition and hydration, and that this is audited.

Critical Care

  • The trust must audit compliance with NICE CG83 rehabilitation after critical illness and act on the results.
  • The trust must review and reduce the number of non-clinical transfers from ICU.


  • The trust must ensure that effective timely assessment and/or escalation processes are in place, including the use of the Modified Early Obstetric Warning Score (MEOWS).
  • The trust must continue to improve obstetric skills and drills training among medical staff working in obstetrics.
  • The trust must continue to improve midwifery and medical staff competencies in the recognition and timely response to abnormalities in cardiotocography (CTGs) including the use of ‘Fresh eyes’.

Children and Young People’s Service

  • The trust must ensure the number of staff who have received training in advanced paediatric life support, is in line with national guidance and the trust’s own target.

Outpatients and Diagnostic Imaging

  • The trust must complete the clinical validation of all outpatient backlogs and continue to address those backlogs, prioritised according to clinical need.
  • The trust must continue to take action to reduce the rates of patients who DNA.
  • The trust must continue to take action to reduce the numbers of cancelled clinics.
  • The trust must continue to strengthen the oversight, monitoring and management of outpatient bookings and waiting lists to protect patients from the risks of delayed or inappropriate care and treatment.
  • The trust must continue to work with partners to address referral to treatment times and improve capacity and demand planning to ensure services meet the needs of the local population.

There were also areas of poor practice where the trust should make improvements which are detailed at the end of this report.

On the basis of this inspection, I have recommended that the trust be placed into special measures.

Professor Sir Mike Richards

Chief Inspector of Hospitals

13 – 16 October 2015, 6 November 2015 and 5 January 2016

During a routine inspection

We inspected Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust from 13 – 16 October 2015 and performed an unannounced inspection on the 6 November 2015 and the 5 January 2016. This inspection was to review and rate the trust’s community services for the first time using the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) new methodology for comprehensive inspections. The acute hospitals had been inspected under the new methodology in April 2014, we therefore carried out a focussed inspection of the core services that had previously been rated as inadequate or requires improvement. Due to additional information the inspection team also inspected maternity services and caring across the core services included this inspection.

Focused inspections do not look across a whole service; they focus on the areas defined by the information that triggers the need for the focused inspection. We therefore did not inspect children and young people’s services or end of life services within the hospitals at the follow up inspection. Additionally not all of the five domains: safe, effective, caring, responsive and well led were reviewed for each of the core services we inspected. At the inspection in April 2014 we found the trust was in breach of regulations relating to patient care and welfare, staffing, premises, staff support and governance.

Overall at the October 2015 inspection we rated Scunthorpe General hospital as inadequate overall. The hospital was rated as ‘good’ for being caring. The hospital was rated ‘inadequate’ for safe and well led and ‘required improvement’ in the domains of effective and responsive. The core service of outpatients was rated inadequate this hospital. There was evidence of harm to patients within the outpatient services because of poor management of the follow up appointment system. There were no significant concerns identified within the diagnostic services we inspected where we found patients were protected from avoidable harm and received effective care.

  • There were significant gaps in the medical rotas for some specialities: both A&E and critical care services were not staffed in line with nationally recommended levels of consultants and A&E was not staffed to the trust’s own recommended levels. The medical cover overnight at Scunthorpe was delaying care and treatment of some patients.
  • Whilst the trust was actively recruiting to nursing posts, there remained a high number of nursing posts vacant on a significant number of wards and other services. Shift co-ordinators on each ward also had a cohort of patients to care for. On most wards there were two registered nurses overnight; frequently one of these would be bank or agency. We saw examples of delayed care and staff who were not familiar with ward environments and specialities. This was raised at the time of inspection and the trust are undertaking a review of nurse staffing and developing the shift co-ordinator role.
  • There was a backlog of patients requiring outpatient follow up and high levels of clinic cancellations resulting in patients being cancelled on multiple occasions. There was a lack of clinical involvement in the cancellation process and a lack of clinical validation of the patients who were waiting for follow up appointments.
  • There was lack of oversight and accountability of the outpatient processes and associated backlogs with actions slow and lacking sufficient senior managerial involvement at core service level. The issues regarding outpatient backlogs had been raised at the inspection and the trust took immediate action to ensure the backlog of patients were reviewed and provided with appointments.
  • There were gaps in learning from incidents in almost all services. We were not assured that following serious incidents and never events that learning was disseminated and any risks identified and actions taken.
  • At the time of the inspection the trust was a mortality outlier for deaths from acute bronchitis and cardiac dysrhythmias.
  • There was no dedicated room in Scunthorpe ED specifically designed with safety measures in place that would allow for the safe assessment and care of patients who attended with a mental health condition. Other rooms that had been converted to treatment rooms were unsafe for patients on trolleys.
  • Within critical care essential equipment, such as beds, mattresses and ventilators, was old and described by staff as not fit for purpose. Twenty eight pieces of equipment required for direct patient care were out of date.
  • Staff were not aware of how to record minimum and maximum temperatures for medication fridges; what the recommended range was or that this was necessary for safety and efficacy of the medicines. We saw several examples were a temperature had been recorded outside of recommended range but no action had been taken.
  • There had been managerial change within critical care which was beginning to have a positive impact with regard to development of critical care services.
  • There was not sufficient resource identified, including specialist staff, training and systems in place to care for vulnerable people, specifically those with learning disabilities and dementia. However, there was a highly motivated and compassionate quality matron who had the lead for dementia and also learning disabilities.
  • At our inspection in April 2014 we found that not all clinical staff had received safeguarding of children training up to the advanced level three. At this inspection, we found that clinical staff were now in the process of being trained up to level three in safeguarding children. However, the numbers of staff who had received the level three training was below the trust’s 95% target. The records provided to us by the trust showed that no medical staff in the emergency department had undertaken level three safeguarding children training.
  • Scunthorpe General Hospital scored well in the Stroke Sentinel National Audit Programme, with an overall score of B (on scale of A – E, with E being the worst) for April – June 2015 admissions.

We saw several areas of outstanding practice including:

  • The development of a pressure sore assessment tool known as a ‘pug wheel’ to support staff in the accurate identification of pressure damage. This had been developed by the tissue viability team.
  • The “Frail Elderly Assessment & Support Team” gave elderly patients, immediate access to physiotherapy / occupational therapy assessment as well as nursing & medical assessment. Social services would also be involved in assessment with the aim of providing immediate treatment / assessment and initiation of community based care or services. The aim of this service was that patients should be able to return to their usual place of residence with the support of community services.

However, there were also areas of poor practice where the trust needs to make improvements.

Importantly, the trust must:

  • The trust must ensure that there are sufficient numbers of suitably skilled, qualified and experienced staff in line with best practice and national guidance taking into account patients’ dependency levels. This must include but not be limited to: medical staff within ED and critical care, nursing staff within ED, medicine and surgery. It must also include a review of dedicated management time allocated to ward co-ordinators and managers. It must ensure adequate out of hours anaesthetic staffing to avoid delays in treatment. The trust must ensure there are always sufficient numbers of radiologists to meet the needs of people using the radiology service.
  • The trust must ensure that the significant outpatient backlog is promptly addressed and prioritised according to clinical need, ensure that the governance and monitoring of outpatients’ appointment bookings are operated effectively, reducing the numbers of cancelled clinics and patients who did not attend, and ensuring identification, assessment and action is taken to prevent any potential system failures, thus protecting patients from the risks of inappropriate or unsafe care and treatment.
  • The trust must ensure there are timely and effective governance processes in place to identify and actively manage risks throughout the organisation, especially in relation to: staffing; critical care and ensuring the essential equipment is included in the trust replacement plan.
  • The trust must ensure that staff at core service/divisional level understand and are able to communicate the key priorities, strategies and implementation plans for their areas. The trust must improve its engagement with staff to ensure that staff are aware, understand and are involved in improvements to services and receive appropriate support to carry out the duties they are employed to perform.
  • The trust must ensure it acts upon its own gap analysis of maternity services across the trust to deliver effective management of clinical risk and practice development.
  • The trust must ensure that action is taken to address the mortality outliers and improve patient outcomes in these areas.
  • The trust must ensure that all risks to the health and safety of patients with a mental health condition are removed in Scunthorpe emergency department. This must include the removal of all ligature risks, although must not be limited to the removal of such risks. The trust must undertake a risk assessment of the facilities, including the clinical room and trolley areas, but not be limited to those areas with advice from a suitably qualified mental health professional.
  • The trust must ensure that the recently constructed treatment rooms at Scunthorpe that were previously used as doctors’ offices are suitable for the treatment of patients on trolleys. This must include ensuring that such patients can be quickly taken out of the room in the event of an emergency.
  • The trust must have a process in place to obtain and record consent from patients and/or their families for the use of the baby monitors in ITU.
  • The hospital must ensure the safe storage of medicines within fridges. The trust must ensure staff check drug fridge temperatures daily and record minimum and maximum temperatures. Additionally it must ensure staff know that the correct fridge temperatures to preserve the safety and efficacy of drugs and what action they need to take if the temperature recording goes outside of this range.
  • The trust must ensure equipment is checked, in date and fit for purpose including checking maternity resuscitation equipment and critical care equipment is reviewed and where required included in the trust replacement plan.
  • The trust must ensure there is an effective process for providing consistent feedback and learning from incidents.
  • The trust must review the validation of mixed sex accommodation occurrences, to ensure patients are cared for in appropriate environment and report any breaches.
  • The trust must ensure the reasons for do not attempt cardio respiratory resuscitation (DNACPR) decisions are recorded and in line with good practice within surgical services.
  • The trust must ensure the five steps for safer surgery including the World Health Organisation Safety Checklist (WHO) is consistently applied and practice is audited in theatres.
  • The trust must review the effectiveness of the patient pathway from pre-assessment, through to timeliness of going to theatre and the number of on the day cancellations for patients awaiting operation.
  • The trust must ensure policies and guidelines in use within clinical areas are compliant with NICE guidance or guidance from other similar bodies and that staff are aware of the updated policies, especially within maternity, ED and surgery.
  • The trust must ensure there are adequate specialist staff, training and systems in place to care for vulnerable people specifically those with learning disabilities and dementia. The trust must stop using newly qualified nurses awaiting professional registration (band 4 nurses) within the numbers for registered nurses on duty.
  • The trust must ensure it continues to improve on the number of fractured neck of femur patients who receive surgery within 48 hours The trust must continue to improve against the target of all staff receiving an annual appraisal and supervision, especially in surgery, and that actions identified in the appraisals are acted upon.

Additionally there were other areas of action identified where the trust should take action and these are listed at the end of the report.

Professor Sir Mike Richards

Chief Inspector of Hospitals

25 April and 6 May 2014

During a routine inspection

Scunthorpe General Hospital is one of three acute hospitals within Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust. This trust has been selected as one of the first trusts to be inspected under CQC’s revised inspection approach. It was selected for inspection as an example of a ‘high’ risk trust.

Scunthorpe General Hospital provides a wide range of district general services to the population of North Lincolnshire. This hospital has approximately 400 inpatient beds as well as day beds providing medical and surgical services, maternity services delivering more than 2,0000 babies a year, children and young people services, and a critical care unit. It also has an Accident and Emergency department seeing around 60,000 attendances every year, and an outpatients department.

We inspected Scunthorpe General Hospital (SGH) as part of the comprehensive inspection of Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Trust, which included this hospital, Diana, Princess of Wales (DPOW) and Goole District Hospital (GDH). We inspected Scunthorpe General Hospital on 25 April 2014 and completed an unannounced visit on 6 May 2014. We did not inspect the community service provision at the trust as part of this inspection.

We carried out this comprehensive inspection because the Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust was placed in a high risk band 1 in CQC’s intelligent monitoring system.

Overall, we rated Scunthorpe General Hospital as requiring improvement. We rated it good for being caring but it requires improvement in providing safe care, being effective, responsive to patients’ needs and being well-led.

We rated maternity, children’s and young people’s services, end of life services and outpatients’ as good. A&E, medical care, surgery and critical care require improvement.

Our key findings were as follows:

  • There were arrangements in place to manage and monitor the prevention and control of infection, with a dedicated team to support staff and ensure policies and procedures were implemented. We found all areas visited clean. MRSA and Clostridium difficile rates were within an acceptable range for the size of the trust.
  • There were significant vacancies with nursing and medical staff in some areas. The trust was actively recruiting into these posts. In the meantime, bank, agency and locum staff were used to fill any deficits in staff numbers. Staff could also work extra hours.
  • Patients were able to access suitable nutrition and hydration including special diets. Patients reported that, on the whole, they were content with the quality and quantity of food provided.
  • Mortality rates are improving.

Importantly, to improve quality and safety of care, the trust must:

  • Ensure that there are sufficient qualified, skilled and experienced staff, particularly in A&E, medical and surgical wards. This is to include provision of staff out of hours, bank holidays and weekends.
  • Review the skills and experience of staff working with children in the A&E department to meet national recommendations.
  • Review the environment and lay out of the accident and emergency department at Scunthorpe General Hospital so that it can meet the needs of children and patients with mental health needs.
  • Review care and treatment to ensure that it is keeping pace with National Institute of Clinical Excellence guidance and best practice recommendations, particularly within the intensive therapy unit.
  • Ensure that the intensive therapy unit uses nationally-recognised best-practice guidance in terms of consultant wards rounds and reviewing admissions to the unit.
  • Review delayed discharges from intensive therapy unit in terms of the negative impact this can have on patients.
  • Ensure that the designation of the specialty of some medical wards reflect the actual type of patients treated.
  • Ensure that the availability of emergency theatre lists at this hospital is improved.
  • Ensure that there is an improvement in the number of Fractured Neck of Femur patients who had surgery within 48 hours.
  • Ensure there is appropriate care planning and a paediatric early warning scoring system on the neonatal intensive care unit and that there is consistent nutritional and tissue viability screening and assessment on paediatric wards.
  • Ensure that all staff attend and complete mandatory training, particularly for safeguarding children and resuscitation.
  • Ensure that staff have appropriate appraisal and supervision.
  • Review the effectiveness of handovers, particularly in the medical services.
  • Ensure that all patient documentation is appropriately updated and maintained including documentation for mental capacity assessments and risk assessments.
  • Ensure that reasons for Do Not Attempt Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) are recorded and are in line with good practice and guidelines.
  • Ensure that DNACPR orders confirm discussion with patients or family members and whether multidisciplinary teams are involved before an order is put in place.
  • Review access to soft diets outside of meal-times.
  • Review the ‘did not attend’ and waiting times in outpatients’ clinics and put in steps to address issues identified.

Professor Sir Mike Richards

Chief Inspector of Hospitals

5 December 2013

During a routine inspection

The inspection at Scunthorpe General Hospital was carried out to assess whether the trust had implemented actions in response to non-compliance found at the inspection in February 2013. This was in relation to patient care in the accident and emergency department (A&E), stroke care and supporting staff to receive appropriate training, professional development, supervision and appraisal. The inspection also included a review of maternity services.

We spoke with over 50 patients or their relatives and staff. The inspection team comprised CQC inspectors, doctors, nurses, and patient representatives. We received information from local bodies such as the clinical commissioning groups, Healthwatch, Monitor, NHS England, Health Education England and the Supervising Authority for midwives.

On the whole patients were positive about their care and treatment. Patients using services we inspected all said they had been treated with dignity and respect. They said they had received treatment quickly and staff had kept them informed about their plan of care.

Our review of the trust showed they had made progress in taking action to improve patient care and treatment in the areas we visited. We saw elements of good practice particularly in the treatment of patients suffering from a stroke. The trust acknowledged that there was still work to be done to ensure there was continuous and sustained improvement to maintain patient safety and welfare. There had been changes to medical leadership and new directorate structures were being introduced in January 2014. This would ensure greater accountability at Board and ward level for patient care and safety.

We found that patient's health, safety and welfare was protected when more than one provider was involved in their care and treatment, or when they moved between different services. This was because the trust worked in co-operation with others such as commissioners, GPs, other trusts, ambulance services and community services. There were systems in place to minimise the risk to patients care and treatment during their transfer and discharge.

There were enough qualified, skilled and experienced staff to meet patient's needs. The trust had management structures, systems and procedures which were followed, monitored and reviewed to enable the effective maintenance of staffing levels.

Patients were cared for by staff who were supported to deliver care and treatment safely and to an appropriate standard. Good progress had been made to ensure all staff received mandatory training and appraisal. Staff morale was noted to have improved in most areas.

The provider had an effective system to regularly assess and monitor the quality of service that patients received. There were structures in place to ensure governance arrangements were met at corporate and ward level. Complaints management was an area which the trust recognised required further improvement.

13, 15 February 2013

During a routine inspection

The inspection focussed on how care and treatment was delivered to people who had suffered a stroke. We visited the accident and emergency department (A&E), the medical assessment unit (MAU), Stepping Stones (stroke unit) and a medical elderly ward.

We also assessed a diabetes ward and an orthopaedic ward with regards to infection prevention and control. We found both wards were clean and hygienic.

Patients were provided with information about their care and treatment and they were treated with respect. Comments included, 'I have been informed all the way along' and 'They looked after me, changed the bed and made me comfy. They were very good and I didn't feel I was a nuisance.'

Patients told us they were happy with the treatment they had received on the stroke unit. We found the acute phase of treatment was managed in a timely way. However, we had concerns with some aspects of ongoing care and treatment.

We found the trust employed sufficient staff although staff deployment and bed management affected work pressures.

Not all staff had up to date training which the trust considered to be mandatory. Some of the staff we spoke with felt they needed more specific training for their role on the stroke unit. There was limited formal staff supervision and not all staff we spoke with received appropriate development and appraisal.

We found some elements of patient's records did not always have sufficient information in order to audit the care they had received.

22 March 2012

During a themed inspection looking at Termination of Pregnancy Services

We did not speak to people who used this service as part of this review. We looked at a random sample of medical records. This was to check that current practice ensured that no treatment for the termination of pregnancy was commenced unless two certificated opinions from doctors had been obtained.

27 February 2012

During a routine inspection

We undertook a simultaneous review of two children's wards managed by Northern

Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust. We visited wards at Scunthorpe General Hospital and Diana Princess of Wales Hospital.

During our inspection we spoke with a number of people who use the service. People we talked with were generally positive about their care and experience in hospital. They told us they received sufficient information about the hospital and the proposed treatment or procedure. The options for their treatment or procedure were explained to them in a way they could understand and they were given opportunities to ask questions. They were told about the risk and benefits of the treatment or procedure, they felt included in decisions made about their care and were given time to consider their decision about the proposed treatment or procedure.

From our inspection across both sites we received comments such as: "The doctor explained everything to me in detail", "Staff always talk things through with us" and "I felt happy about what was happening with the tests, the doctor explained everything in lay terms. I had to sign the care plan."

The people we spoke with felt they could raise any concerns with staff and these would be acted upon. People we spoke with were complimentary about the staff who looked after them. They told us staff supported them in a friendly and supportive manner. Comments we received included:" Nurses have been fantastic, really helpful", "Staff are very nice" and "Staff are really good."

We received mixed comments about staffing levels on the wards. Some people felt that during certain shifts staff were very busy however they told us care continued to be good during these periods. Comments we received included: "Staffing levels are good" and "Staff were very busy one night, though the care was good."

21 June 2011

During a routine inspection

We undertook a simultaneous review of all three hospitals managed by Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust. As part of our review we conducted an unannounced inspection of Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital and Scunthorpe General Hospital.

During our inspection we spoke to a number of people who use the service. People we talked to were generally positive about their care and experience in hospital. They told us that they were treated with respect and received sufficient information about the hospital and the proposed treatment or procedure. The options for their treatment or procedure were explained to them in a way that they could understand and they were given opportunities to ask questions. They were told about the risk and benefits of the treatment or procedure, they felt included in decisions made about their care and were given time to consider their decision about the proposed treatment or procedure.

People told us that they felt the hospital staff communicated effectively with them, they received their test results in a timely manner and were kept up to date of their progress.

People we spoke to told us that they received pain medication when they asked for it although one person at Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital described a particular incident when they had to wait a long time however when they reminded the nurse they received it immediately.

From our inspection of Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital we received comments such as 'the doctors told me what was happening at every stage'; 'I couldn't fault the care', 'I wasn't sure about the surgery so the doctor gave me more time to think about it which was really good', 'I was offered a date for my treatment that was convenient to me, as well as having the whole procedure discussed with me' and 'the staff are really good'.

Two patients commented that during their stay on the medical admissions unit their sleep was interrupted by noise and activity at night which was due to emergency admissions. One patient told us that the only improvement they could make would be for the doctors to routinely provide more technical detail about the treatment or procedure they had carried out. The person did go on to say that not everyone may want the technical detail and there were opportunities to ask questions.

From our inspection of Scunthorpe General Hospital we received comments such as 'The ward is very clean and tidy', 'they clean every morning, dust and clean the chairs and everywhere', 'I've been given lots of information from the doctors and nurses, I'm waiting for the results from a test yesterday and the doctor is coming today to discuss the results and what happens next', 'They have informed me about everything, I understand about the treatment', 'The staff are very good with the ones who are confused, I lie here and watch them, they are very patient and always polite and kind'.

The trust carries out short patient experience surveys themed around a number of quality indicators identified by the trust which are attached to inpatients' menu cards to enable them to obtain a real time view of the patient perspective. Between April 2010 and March 2011 the majority of patients who completed the surveys indicated they were treated with respect and dignity and satisfied with their care whilst in hospital.

The majority of responses from the Care Quality Commission 2010 in-patient survey were similar to expected which is comparative to other trusts and also some positive comments were made on the NHS Choices website.

14 April 2011

During a themed inspection looking at Dignity and Nutrition

Patients we spoke with were mostly very positive about their experiences of care and treatment. They told us they were happy with the way staff cared for them and we received comments describing staff as 'really good' and 'they make time for me'. They also told us that staff respond quickly to their needs and were respectful.

Patients told us that they enjoyed mealtimes and were generally complimentary about their experience of mealtimes at the hospital and quality of food provided and we received comments such as 'I can order what I like' and 'it is nice and hot'. We received one negative comment from a patient who told us that they regularly missed a meal when they had to attend for treatment off the ward and when they returned they were only offered a sandwich.

We also used information provided by patients on NHS Choices website, complaints that we have been sent, Patient Environment Action Team assessment and patient survey results. The results have shown that the responses were about the same or better in comparison to other similar trusts.