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In November 2011 we carried out a full investigation into care provided by United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust. Read the press release and the investigation report here:
CQC investigation finds improvements at Pilgrim Hospital but further progress still needed to protect patients

In April 2013, we published an update report showing a number of improvements made at Pilgrim Hospital since our investigation.

Reports


Inspection carried out on 14 February 2018

During a routine inspection

Our rating of services stayed the same. We rated it them as inadequate.

A summary of this hospital appears in the overall summary above.

Inspection carried out on 10-14, 18-19, 26-27 October 2016 and 19 December 2016

During an inspection to make sure that the improvements required had been made

We carried out a focused inspection to United Lincolshire Hospitals NHS Trust so we could follow up on improvements that had been made since our last inspection. This was our third inspection to the trust since the introduction of our new inspection methodology. The announced inspection took place between the 10-14, 18-19 and 26-27 October 2016. We also carried out unannounced inspections to Pilgrim Hospital on 24, 25 and 27 October 2016. We carried out a further unannounced inspection on 19 December 2016 in respone to information we had received from members of the public/relatives of patients.

Overall, we rated Pilgrim Hospital as inadequate. The medical service and the outpatients and diagnostic imaging service were rated as inadequate, urgent and emergency services and maternity and gynaecology services were rated as requires improvement and surgery, critical care and services for children and young people were rated as good.

Our key findings were:

Safe

  • The approach to reviewing and investigating incidents in some services was insufficient and too slow and led to unacceptable delays. However, there was a positive approach to reporting and learning from incidents in the critical care unit.
  • We were not always assured incidents were reported appropriately, investigated, that lessons were learnt and shared in a timely way. However, some staff told us they had received feedback following raised incidents and could give examples of where learning from incidents had taken place.
  • Where patients had met the criteria for treatment of sepsis, staff were not always responding appropriately in administering treatment in the recommended time frame and in line with the “sepsis six” care bundle.

  • We were not assured patients were receiving their medication as prescribed.

  • Individual care records were not always written and managed in a way that kept people safe. Some records were incomplete and not up-dated to reflect patients care needs.

  • Fluid balance charts in some areas were not always updated appropriately to minimise risks to patients.
  • Staff training compliance for safeguarding adults and children did not meet the trusts mandatory target of 95% completion. We were therefore not assured all staff would be able to respond appropriately.
  • Not all areas met the trust target of 95% for a majority of their mandatory training and compliance was variable across the hospital.

  • Nurse and medical staffing levels and skill mix were not always appropriate to keep patients protected from avoidable harm at all times. However, there were the appropriate numbers of staff on duty in the critical care unit.

  • The hospital participated in the national safety thermometer scheme but it was not always displayed in the ward areas.

  • The poor condition of and unavailability of health records was having a negative impact on all clinic areas, resulting in appointment delays, additional anxieties and work for clinic staff and causing difficulties and delays in medical information being located.

  • The hospital did not secure records in a way, which protected patient confidentiality. We saw numerous occasions where staff left confidential records in public areas. The environment was hazardous for administrative staff in areas where boxes of medical records had been inappropriately stored.

  • Data from the trust showed 18,636 patients had been missing on the electronic patient administration system. Of these, 1,119 patients required a further appointment meaning they had been missing from the waiting list. There was an ongoing process to continue to identify further patients missing from waiting lists. This presented a risk to patients’ ongoing treatment and care.

Effective

  • The trust’s ‘rolling 12 month’ Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratio (HSMR) for April 2015 to March 2016 was 101.5.
  • The latest published Summary Hospital-level Mortality Indicator (SHMI) for July 2015 to June 2016 was 1.101 which was as expected.
  • Outcomes for patients were sometimes below expectations when compared with similar services at a national level.
  • Generally, care and treatment was planned and delivered in line with current evidence based guidance but there were times when care and treatment didn’t followed evidence based guidance.
  • Patient outcomes were variable compared to similar services and some standards were not measured or audited.
  • Not all staff had the right qualifications, skills, knowledge and experience to do their job. Not all staff had the training or completed competences recommended by the trust to care for patients with a tracheostomy or to care for patients receiving non-invasive ventilation.

  • There was no policy for restraining patients but we found evidence that patients had received tranquilisation drugs in order to sedate them.
  • Generally there was good multidisciplinary working across the service. This included support from community staff who attended meetings to discuss patient care.
  • There was a colour coded system to signify assistance required for patients to maintain dietary and fluid requirements.
  • Endoscopy services at this hospital were Joint Advisory Group (JAG) accredited.
  • A dementia care practitioner was available to support patients living with dementia.

  • The maternity service used a maternity dashboard but they did not use this to set local goals for each of the parameters monitored, as well as upper and lower thresholds

Caring

  • Generally patients and relatives spoke positively about the care they received. Staff treated patients with kindness and compassion and provided emotional support. Staff were friendly and professional in their interactions with patients and relatives and patients felt involved in their care and informed about the care they received.
  • However, we observed some instances within the medical service of the hospital where patients were not treated with compassion, dignity and respect. We also received concerns from members of the public/relatives about the care being delivered.
  • We observed some instances where patients basic care needs were not always met.

Responsive

  • Some patients were not able to access services for assessment, diagnosis or treatment when they needed to.
  • Patients had been unable to access services in a timely way for an initial assessment, diagnosis or treatment including when cancer was suspected. During 2016 the trust had failed to meet the majority of the national standards for the cancer referral to treatment targets. This included the referral standard for patients suspected of cancer who needed to be seen with two weeks. This standard had not been consistently met during 2016.
  • There were significant delays in patients receiving their follow up outpatient appointment across several specialities with 3,772 appointments being overdue by more than six weeks. These did not include the patients identified as missing from the waiting lists.
  • There was insufficient consideration paid to meeting the information and communication needs of patients. The service had not taken steps to meet the requirements of the accessible information standard. However, staff could access interpreting services for patients who did not speak or understand English.

  • Maternal choice for a midwife led unit delivery was limited and there were no designated bereavement areas for families who had lost a baby.

Well led

  • Not all staff were aware of the vision and strategy for the trust and some staff felt uncertain about the future of the hospital.
  • There was not always an effective governance framework which supported the delivery of safe, good quality care.
  • Risks were not always dealt with appropriately or in a timely way.
  • We received mixed feedback from staff about morale and feeling they could raise concerns and were listened to. Some staff reported morale as good in their clinical area, where as others were less engaged with the hospital and did not feel as comfortable to raise concerns.
  • We were not assured that all of the local leaders had the necessary knowledge and capability to lead effectively because in some areas they were out of touch with the clinical care being delivered on the front line. In some areas, there was a lack of clarity about how staff were held to account.

We saw several areas of outstanding practice including:

  • The emergency department was trialling the introduction of a hot meal for those patients who were able to eat at lunchtime.
  • The department inputted hourly data into an emergency department (ED) specific risk tool, which had been created, to give an internal escalation level within ED separate to the site operational escalation level. This tool gave an ‘at a glance’ look at the number of patients in ED, time to triage and first assessment, number of patients in resus, number of ambulance crews waiting and the longest ambulance crew wait. This gave a focus across the trust on where pressure was building and there were local actions for easing pressure.
  • The trust had introduced a carer’s badge, which enabled any family members and trusted friends to be involved in the care of their loved ones. The carers badge encouraged carer involvement, particularly for patients with additional needs. Being signed up to the carers badge also gave carers free parking whilst they were in attendance at the hospital.
  • In response to an identified need for early patient rehabilitation, a physiotherapy assistant had been employed to work within the critical care unit. Under the direction of a chartered physiotherapist, the assistant carried out a program of exercises with individual patients to support the rehabilitation process. This included a variety of exercises including the use of cycle peddles to aid the maintenance of muscle tone. Staff spoke positively about this service and of the benefits to patient recovery.
  • Staff on the children’s ward had learnt sign language to enhance their communication skills with children who had hearing difficulties.
  • The trust had direct access to electronic information held by community services, including GPs. This meant that hospital staff could access up-to-date information about patients, for example, details of their current medicine.

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

Importantly, the trust must:

  • The trust must ensure systems and processes are effective in identifying and treating those patients at risk of sepsis.
  • The trust must ensure that there are processes in place to ensure that patients whose condition deteriorates are escalated appropriately.

  • The trust must take action to ensure safety systems, processes and standard operating procedures are in place to ensure there is an on-call gastrointestinal bleed rota to protect patients from avoidable harm.
  • The trust must ensure that all staff have an appraisal and are up to date with mandatory training, and ensure staff in the emergency department have received appropriate safeguarding training.
  • The trust must ensure staff have the appropriate qualifications, competence, skills and experience, in excess of paediatric life support, to care for and treat children safely in the emergency department.
  • The trust must ensure there is an adequate standard of cleaning in the emergency department.
  • The trust must ensure staff comply with hand decontamination in the emergency department.
  • The trust must ensure that patient records in the emergency department are complete; specifically that risk assessments, pain scores and peripheral cannula care are documented.
  • The trust must ensure patient records are kept securely in the ambulatory emergency care unit (AEC).
  • The trust must ensure governance and risk management arrangements are robust and are suitable to protect patients from avoidable harm.
  • The trust must take action to ensure there is a robust process in place to report incidents appropriately and investigate incidents in a timely manner and staff receive feedback, lessons are learnt and shared learning occurs.
  • The trust must take action to ensure systems and processes are effective staff respond appropriately in administering treatment in the recommended time frame in accordance to the sepsis six bundle of care.
  • The trust must take action to ensure systems, processes are in place to reduce the significant number of omitted medication doses, and any omissions recorded in accordance with trust policy.
  • The trust must take action to ensure ligature risk assessments are undertaken in all required areas.
  • The trust must take action to ensure ligature cutters are accessible and available when needed to meet the needs of people using the service.
  • The trust must take action to ensure there are sufficient numbers of suitably qualified competent, skilled and experienced staff to meet the identified needs of patients.
  • The trust must take action to ensure the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is informed about any DoLS applications made in line with Regulation 18 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Registrations) Regulations 2014.
  • The trust must include evidence of outcomes and learning from complaints within communication with staff.
  • The trust must take action to ensure that people are told when something goes wrong.
  • The trust must take action to ensure that emergency equipment in the antenatal day unit is checked when the unit is in use.
  • The trust must take actions to ensure that staff within gynaecology have greater involvement in the reporting and monitoring of incidents. This would include sharing learning from historical incidents.
  • The trust must take action to ensure staff in maternity are appropriately trained and supported to provide recovery care for patients post operatively.
  • The trust must take action to ensure that all staff receive basic life support and infection prevention and control training.
  • The trust must take action to ensure all staff working in the termination of pregnancy service receive formal counselling training.
  • The trust must take actions to ensure that all paperwork is correctly completed to ensure Human Tissue Authority guidance is followed in the disposal of fetal remains.
  • The trust must take actions to ensure that when gynaecology patients are admitted the inpatient records are found as soon as possible. Where temporary patient notes are created, these must be combined with inpatient records as quickly as possible.
  • The trust must take actions to ensure that the area designated as the labour ward recovery area is ready for use with privacy maintained at all times.
  • The trust must complete a ligature risk assessment of the Children’s ward where CAMHS patients are admitted.
  • The trust must ensure paediatric medical staffing is compliant with the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) standards.
  • The trust must ensure nurse staffing on the children’s ward is in accordance with Royal College of Nursing (RCN) (2013) staffing guidance.
  • The trust must ensure there is at least one nurse per shift in all clinical areas trained in either advanced paediatric life support (APLS) or European paediatric life support (EPLS) as identified in the RCN (2013) staffing guidance.
  • The trust must ensure staff adhere to the trust’s screening guidelines for screening for sepsis.
  • The trust must ensure the management of health records enables the safe care and treatment of patients, compliance with information governance requirements and ensures patient confidentiality is maintained. This includes the availability, the condition and storage of medical records.
  • The trust must ensure that equipment is appropriately maintained. Ensure any checks carried out by staff are recorded and done with sufficient frequency and with sufficient knowledge to minimise the risk of potential harm to patients.
  • The trust must ensure that patients who are referred to the trust have their referrals reviewed in a timely manner to assess the degree of urgency of the referral.
  • The trust must ensure that the patients who require follow up appointments do not suffer unnecessary delays and are placed on the waiting list.
  • The trust must ensure patients have complete and recorded outcomes to ensure there are documented decisions and actions in relation to their treatment and care.

In addition the trust should:

  • The trust should ensure there are robust systems in place to ensure all incidents are reported, investigations occur in a timely manner, staff receive feedback and processes are in place to ensure learning occurs.
  • The trust should ensure that governance procedures are robust, risks are clearly identified and that there is a comprehensive assurance system.
  • The trust should ensure ligature cutters are immediately available in the ED.

  • The trust should ensure that the resuscitation trolleys and their equipment are checked, properly maintained and fit for purpose in the emergency department.
  • The trust should implement the difficult airway trolley in the emergency department at the earliest opportunity.
  • The trust should ensure the proper and safe management of medicines, including storage at the correct temperature in the emergency department.
  • The trust should ensure it continues to work to response to the increased capacity and improve flow through the emergency department in order to ensure patients are seen by a registered healthcare practitioner in 15 minutes, do not have to wait longer than four hours and that ambulance handovers happen within 15 minutes.
  • The trust should ensure there is 16 hours of consultant presence each day.
  • The trust should ensure there is a suitable room in ED to treat those patient with mental health needs.
  • The trust should consider if mental capacity assessments and best interest decisions for patients attending the emergency department are recorded in line with the Mental Capacity Act.
  • The trust should ensure staff are appropriately trained and supported to meet the requirements related to duty of candour.
  • The trust should ensure an annual audit is carried out in line with the recommendations of The Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) guidelines; Management of Pain in Children (revised July 2013).
  • The trust should consider how the emergency department can comply with the accessible standard for information and also how facilities for the hard of hearing can be improved at the reception area of the emergency department.
  • The trust should consider how the environment in the emergency department could be more dementia friendly.
  • The trust should ensure mandatory training is completed in line with trust policy.
  • The trust should ensure safeguarding adults and children’s training is completed in line with trust policy.
  • The trust should ensure standards of hygiene and cleanliness at all times to prevent and protect people from healthcare-associated infection.
  • The trust should ensure that timely care planning takes place to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the service users.
  • The trust should ensure observation charts for monitoring fluid balance of patients are completed to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the service users.
  • The trust should ensure systems, processes, standard operating procedures are in place to ensure documentation, and checklists for the safe delivery of care for patients with a tracheostomy are completed and displayed in accordance with trust policy.
  • The trust should ensure evidence based guidance is followed. The trust did not follow national guidance for the administration of rapid tranquilisation medication.
  • The trust should ensure staff training on Consent, Mental Capacity Act and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards is completed in line with trust policy.
  • The trust should ensure staff appraisal rates are completed in line with trust policy.
  • The trust should ensure patient records are kept securely.
  • The trust should ensure all fridge temperatures for the storage of medication are recorded in line with trust policy.
  • The trust should ensure staff training on Consent, Mental Capacity Act and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards is completed in line with the trust target of 95%.
  • The trust should ensure do not attempt cardio pulmonary resuscitation (DNACPR) orders are completed and mental capacity assessment for those deemed to lack capacity are completed in line with trust policy and national guidance.
  • The trust must ensure pain assessments tool are completed for patients in line with evidence based guidance and staff are clear about the specialist pain team referral pathway.
  • The trust should ensure systems are robust to identify vulnerable patient groups including, but not exclusive to, patients living with dementia and patients with learning disabilities.
  • The trust should ensure there are robust systems in place to manage quality and safety issues in the absence of the Quality and Safety Officer (QSO) for the medicine directorate.
  • The trust should ensure patient records are kept securely.
  • The trust should ensure all fridge temperatures for the storage of medication are recorded in line with trust policy.
  • The trust should ensure that staff vacancies are recruited into to meet the patient acuity within this service.
  • The trust should ensure that the emergency call bells on the risk register since 2014 are installed.
  • The trust should ensure they review the consultant rota to ensure that the rota is sustainable, and that consultants receive 11 hours rest in line with the European working time directive.
  • The trust should ensure there is an allocated physiotherapist to surgical ward areas.
  • The trust should ensure that a Psychologist or Counsellor are available to support vascular amputation patients.
  • The trust should ensure that the measures are addressed for the National Emergency Laparotomy Audit.
  • The trust should ensure that the safety thermometer is displayed in all areas.
  • The trust should ensure that all staff receive a yearly appraisal.
  • The trust should ensure they address concerns regarding the clinical waste arrangements with disposal trolley bins permanently outside the theatre corridor.
  • The critical care unit should display safety thermometer outcomes within the department so that staff and visitors are informed of safety outcomes for the unit.
  • The critical care unit should establish a recorded program of equipment maintenance and capital replacement in line with standards for equipment in critical care.
  • Critical care should consider improving links with speech and language therapists to ensure patients are able to swallow effectively following tracheostomy or long term intubation.
  • The critical care department should consider increasing the number of staff able to access the post registration award in critical care nursing.
  • The senior management team should consider incorporating CCOT into the critical care team to facilitate continuity of care between critical care and the wards.
  • Critical care should consider integrating a named medical consultant when caring for emergency medical patients, to ensure continual and consistent treatment for these patients on discharge from the unit.
  • Critical care should review the service in line with intensive care standards.
  • Critical care should consider collecting data to reflect their delayed discharges by speciality and reason to support this topic on the risk register.
  • The trust should take actions to ensure that NICE guidance is followed in the provision of care for patients with hypertensive disorders in pregnancy.
  • The trust should ensure that the new IT system supports accurate documentation of safety thermometer data.
  • The trust should ensure that notes for patients undergoing caesarean section are consistent including standardised documents.
  • The trust should ensure that safeguarding supervision is provided regularly for all staff.
  • The trust should ensure that if recent NICE guidance is not followed then the current guidance includes an addendum to explain the current decision. (CG 190)
  • The trust should audit the length of time patients attending for emergency gynaecology appointments are expected to wait.
  • The trust should take action to improve the provision of multidisciplinary training.
  • The trust should ensure that within maternity service users feedback is captured.
  • The trust should ensure that action plans are made following audits, and a reaudit is performed, such as following the regular CTG audits.
  • The trust should consider delivering more transition clinics for other long-term conditions other than diabetes and cystic fibrosis.
  • The trust should ensure they devise an abduction policy for the neonatal unit and children’s ward, and test the policy regularly.
  • The trust should ensure all staff follow best practice documentation guidance to ensure all entries into clinical notes is of a satisfactory level and in line with professional standards.
  • The trust should ensure staff working in the children and young people’s service receive formal clinical supervision.
  • The trust should ensure outpatient and diagnostic services are delivered in line with national targets.
  • The trust should ensure staff report incidents in line with trust policy.
  • The trust should ensure staff are reminded of the procedures regarding fridge temperatures falling outside expected range.
  • The trust should take action to ensure all staff working in the outpatient and diagnostic services receive an annual appraisal to ensure they are able to fulfil the requirements of their role.
  • The trust should consider whether the action taken to reduce the back log of clinic letters waiting to be sent to GPs and patients following their appointment was effectively resolving the backlog of letters.
  • The trust should ensure all staff are supported and are not subject to any behaviour falling outside the trust code of conduct.
  • The trust should ensure all staff know their responsibilities and expectations regarding screen breaks.
  • The trust should continue to review the progress and effectiveness of the outpatient transformation programme and work undertaken to reduce diagnostic backlogs.
  • The trust should ensure staff documented ultrasound probe cleaning.

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

Inspection carried out on 1 & 2 May 2014; Focused inspection 3 February 2015

During an inspection to make sure that the improvements required had been made

We inspected the Pilgrim Hospital on 1 and 2 May 2014 as part of the wider inspection of United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust. The trust was chosen for inspection because it was an example of a ‘high risk’ trust. Sir Bruce Keogh’s review (Keogh Mortality Review) in 2013 found significant concerns, and the trust was placed in ‘special measures’ as a result. We returned in February 2015, and found that significant improvements had been made to services. We had some concerns raised in the year about maxillofacial surgery and cardiology services, and we reviewed these concerns as part of our inspection. We planned to inspect only the areas which were found to require improvements at our previous inspection; however during our inspection we noted some poor practice in the medical service. We have therefore reviewed the previous ratings in effective and caring key questions.

In May 2014, we found that the hospital was rated as requiring improvement. Core services for accident and emergency (A&E), medical care, surgery and maternity were found, overall, to require improvement. We returned in February 2015, and found that services in the accident and emergency and maternity services had improved. However surgery and medicine still had some improvements to make. We found that a lack of privacy and dignity, the poor management of pain and access to fluids meant that the rating was moved from good to requires improvement. Overall the hospital still requires some improvement to ensure that all patients receive good care.

Our key findings from our February 2015 inspection were as follows:

  • There was significant improvement in clinical staff engagement, with senior clinicians sitting on the Clinical Executive Committee making decisions, and reporting directly to the trust board.
  • Staffing levels had improved, although there were still some vacancies, which the hospital was aware of and had plans in place to address.
  • There was limited high dependency provision for children within the hospital; however, the hospital is not commissioned for this type of provision. Action had been taken to address our concerns, and one room was available for this type of care whilst awaiting transfer.
  • Care and treatment were delivered in line with national guidance and best practice.
  • Throughout the hospital, staff were said to be caring, kind and compassionate.
  • Patients’ privacy and dignity was respected and maintained. Patients and their relatives were complimentary about care, and results from the NHS Friends and Family Tests were positive.
  • Improvements are still required in meeting the four hour waiting time target in A&E.
  • Over 600 operations in the hospital were cancelled over the last year, mostly because there were no beds available. Data from NHS England for February 2014 showed that general surgery and orthopaedics were missing their 90% referral to treatment time targets.
  • Improvements had been made to the maternity unit, and whilst the building was still in the process of being refurbished, access to specialist midwives had improved.
  • Access to mental health services had improved.
  • The visibility of the senior leadership of the trust, with executive members working at the hospital weekly, had continued, and was appreciated by staff we spoke with.
  • Infection control within the hospital was good, overall. Departments and wards were seen to be clean, with hand-washing facilities, alcohol gel and personal protective equipment (aprons and gloves) available. Staff were seen to be conforming to the 'bare below the elbows' policy, and washing their hands between patients.

We saw several areas of outstanding practice, including:

  • The involvement of a former patient, who had previously complained about their care and treatment, in the recruitment process for new staff in the Patient Liaison and Advice Service (PALS) team.

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

Importantly, the trust must:

  • Ensure that all patients are treated with dignity and respect, and that care meets their individual needs, especially those patients who may have a lack or diminished capacity.

In addition the trust should:

  • Review pathways for paediatric patients to receive treatment that meets their needs, and is in line with current guidance in respect of cystic fibrosis and cerebral palsy.
  • Review mechanisms for ensuring that documentation reflects patients nutritional and hydration intake.
  • Take steps to inform patients of the key quality initiatives in maternity services.
  • Continue to take steps to address performance times, in respect of patients getting timely treatment in surgery.
  • Continue to review the risks associated with children requiring a higher level of care, to ensure their safety.
  • The hospital does not meet the minimum number of operators for a sustainable pacing service according to national guidelines from Heart Rhythm UK. The trust needs to address the concerns of the local operator and should ensure this service device meets the minimum standard required for such a service as specified in national guidance. The Trust suspended service on this site in November 2014 due to concerns raised and will recommence when Heart Rhythm UK standards can be met.

Following this focused inspection and in light of the significant improvements made overall by the trust I have recommended that the trust is removed from special measures.

Professor Sir Mike Richards

Chief Inspector of Hospitals

Inspection carried out on 1 & 2 May 2014

During a routine inspection

We inspected the Pilgrim Hospital on 1 and 2 May 2014 as part of the wider inspection of United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust. The trust was chosen for inspection because it was an example of a ‘high risk’ trust. Sir Bruce Keogh’s review (Keogh Mortality Review) in 2013 found significant concerns and the trust was placed in ‘special measures’ as a result.

The hospital was rated as requiring improvement. Core services for accident and emergency (A&E), medical care, surgery and maternity were found, overall, to require improvement.

Our key findings were as follows:

  • There were not always sufficient numbers of staff within A&E, paediatrics, medicine and palliative care.
  • There were insufficient numbers of infusion pumps available in A&E and on medical wards.
  • Records relating to venous thromboembolism (VTE) and catheter care were not always maintained on surgical wards.
  • One surgical ward had a high number of errors in prescribing medicines, which put patients at risk of receiving the wrong medicine.
  • There was no high dependency provision for children within the hospital.
  • While there was evidence of investigation and learning from incidents within the hospital, this was not always effective, with four similar never events occurring in maternity – despite learning and action having been identified following the first incident.
  • Care and treatment were delivered in line with national guidance and best practice.
  • Throughout the hospital, staff were said to be caring, kind and compassionate.
  • Patients’ privacy and dignity was respected and maintained. Patients and their relatives were complimentary about care and the NHS Friends and Family Tests were positive.
  • Improvements were required in meeting the four-hour waiting time target in A&E.
  • There was a lack of focus on equality and diversity given the number of non-English speaking people living in the local community. Signage was only in English.
  • Support for people with a learning disability was not always available.
  • The lifts within the hospital were not accessible to visually impaired patients.
  • Over 600 operations in the hospital were cancelled over the last year, mostly because there were no beds available. Data from NHS England for February 2014 showed that general surgery and orthopaedics were missing their 90% referral to treatment time target.
  • There were no specialist midwives for bereavement, substance misuse or safeguarding.
  • There were no facilities available for women with low risk pregnancies and labours to have their babies in a midwifery-led unit, or to access a water birth.
  • There was limited access to the child and adolescent mental health service for those children and young people who require specialist mental health support.
  • Staff reported an improvement with the visibility of the senior leadership of the trust, with executive members working at the hospital weekly.
  • “Team Boston” – a forum for staff – was valued by the staff.
  • Within maternity and children and young people’s services, the leadership required improvement, particularly with regard to the central management of these services and the feelings of isolation that staff experienced at the hospital.
  • Infection control within the hospital was good, overall. Departments and wards were seen to be clean with hand washing facilities, alcohol gel and personal protective equipment (aprons and gloves) available. Staff were seen to be conforming to the bare below the elbows policy and washing their hands between patients.
  • Some improvements were required in the record-keeping surrounding care relating to the management of catheters in the surgery services. Data shows that the trust has had higher than expected levels of infection related to catheters.
  • Staffing levels had improved in some areas of the hospital, although further work was required to improve the staffing in A&E and in medicine.

We saw several areas of outstanding practice including:

  • Involving a patient who had complained about their care and treatment in the A&E, in the recruitment process for new staff. Matron was determined to continue with this practice, despite reticence from the Human Resources department.
  • The ambulatory emergency care (AEC) service had been open since October 2013. It received a trust award for improving patient services earlier this year.
  • All pregnant women were seen about a month before they were due to give birth and a joint discussion was held to discuss the women’s hopes, wishes and plans for the birth and postnatal period.
  • We saw an example of a joint clinic for children with diabetes. This clinic was attended by both a paediatrician and an adult service specialist. This demonstrated continuity of care into the adult service.

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

Importantly, the trust must:

  • Ensure that patients receive treatment that meets their needs in the A&E department and in surgery in a timely manner
  • Ensure that there are sufficient numbers of suitably qualified, skilled and experienced staff employed in the maternity department, the medical wards, within the palliative care team, in A&E and in paediatrics.
  • Ensure that there is sufficient numbers of infusion pumps available within medical wards and A&E.
  • Ensure that the beds in critical care and in the Clinical Decision unit (CDU) meet patients’ needs.
  • Ensure that there is suitable pressure-relieving equipment available in CDU.
  • Ensure that there is suitable information available to demonstrate that staff had received training and development.
  • Ensure learning from never events is embedded into practice or monitored and reviewed to prevent the recurrence of an unacceptable event.
  • Ensure that the risks in the environment in the maternity department are identified and substantial risk controls are in place.
  • Ensure that prescribing errors are reported.
  • Ensure that the records relating to the management of VTE and catheter care are maintained.

We would normally take enforcement action in these instances, however, as the trust is already in special measures we have informed the Trust Development Agency of these breaches, who will make sure they are appropriately addressed and that progress is monitored through the special measures action plan.

In addition the trust should:

  • Ensure there is a specific area in A&E with a clear, clean surface to draw up intravenous medication for administering to patients.
  • Ensure staff within A&E receive regular feedback in relation to issues they have raised regarding patient safety.
  • Ensure there can be quick access to patients in the minor cubicles within A&E and that access is clutter-free.
  • Ensure specialist support is available for staff at weekends in A&E when caring for people with a learning disability.
  • Improve access to the child and adolescent mental health service for those children and young people who require specialist mental health support.
  • Improve continuity of consultant cover for the Special Care Unit.
  • Ensure beds and cots are stored away from corridors in paediatrics.
  • Ensure trust-wide data collection of attendance to training is improved.
  • Consider appointing specialist midwives for bereavement, substance misuse and safeguarding.
  • Improve communication from the board regarding the sustainability review.
  • Ensure signage and information is in place to support to the needs of people from Eastern Europe.
  • Ensure there are adequate facilities available for women with low risk pregnancies and labours to have their babies in a midwifery-led unit and have access to a water birth.

    • Review bed occupancy according to the dependency of the paediatric patients. This would mean the bed occupancy tool used reflected the potential complexity of the workload.

On the basis of this inspection, I have recommended that the trust remain in special measures.

Professor Sir Mike Richards

Chief Inspector of Hospitals

Inspection carried out on 21, 25 June and 2, 4, 5 July 2013

During an inspection in response to concerns

The Care Quality Commission was contacted by the Bruce Keogh Rapid Response Team as they had concerns about the staffing levels at the hospital, particularly at night and weekends. We undertook three unannounced inspections to the hospital, one on a Friday night. In addition, we visited the hospital to speak to specific members of staff including specialist nurses, matrons and senior managers. We spoke with staff side union representatives and we contacted the Occupational Health Department to gain an understanding of sickness levels and the nature of referrals.

We looked at staffing levels and care practices across a number of wards and clinical areas. We were assisted by a number of professionals including professional advisors experienced in Trust Board Governance and workforce planning; a medical professional and a practicing professional who works in a care of the elderly service. We had received concerning information about how the trust was dealing with controlled drugs (controlled drugs are medicines which are subject to special storage and recording requirements). Therefore, a pharmacy inspector undertook a focussed inspection of the trust’s arrangements for managing controlled drugs. We also contacted Health Education East Midlands to obtain information on post-graduate medical education in the hospital.

We spoke with patients, their families and representatives. We were assisted by an Expert by Experience (a person who has received services or has cared for someone in receipt of services). We contacted Lincolnshire’s Local Healthwatch to see if members of the public had raised any concerns or given feedback on services relevant to this inspection. We also looked at information given to the Bruce Keogh Rapid Response Review about the views of members of the public about services at the hospital.

Overall, we found a mixed picture. We found staffing levels were low and this impacted on a range of activities across the hospital including care and treatment of patients, communication between clinical staff, the maintenance of patient records and staff access to training and appraisal. This meant the hospital staff were not always responsive to patients’ needs, at times due to inconsistent care and recording practices so patients were not always kept safe. Not all staff had attended the necessary training to ensure they had up to date knowledge and skills to perform their duties appropriately.

We found staff to be caring and dedicated across all staff groups. When we asked patients about their care we received positive feedback. One relative said, “I am very pleased with the treatment my mum is getting here.” A patient told us, “The staff are brilliant but there seems to be a shortage of doctors.” When we asked patients about being consulted about their treatment patients reported they were informed about what was happening. One patient said, “Oh yes my treatment was explained in detail.” Another said, “I understand about my care.” However, patients noticed staff were rushed and that this impacted on their care. We found that some care practices were poor, one patient told us, “I am not very keen on the food, I would rather struggle than have the food shovelled in, they are so busy.”

We found staff could not always respond to the needs of patients. We found not all care needs were assessed, planned for or delivered in a timely manner. We found that some care records were not updated appropriately such as care plans, risk assessments and hourly observation charts. This meant patients were at risk of not receiving consistent or appropriate care.

We found a confusing picture when we looked at how patients, their families and representatives were involved in the decision whether to resuscitate a patient or not. When we looked in the documents used for ‘do not attempt cardio pulmonary resuscitation’ we found some poor recording practices, not all records were clear who had been involved in the decision and why, and there were some medical records without details of discussions held.

Staff reported they could not give the care they would wish to do and also keep up with the necessary paperwork. This was causing increased levels of stress, particularly when registered nurses had to undertake additional duties and procedures to cover for newly registered nurses and agency staff.

We found communication at times ineffective between different staff groups including medical and nursing as well as between clinical staff and senior managers at Trust Board level. We found leadership was variable across wards and between ward/department level and senior management. We found some very positive practice taking place, but this was not necessarily shared across the hospital. Staff were not confident in the reporting system and told us that feedback was inconsistent between managers. One doctor said, “I don’t think anything is being fed up to the Board, we occasionally get an email from the medical directorate about an incident telling us not to do something.”

The trust had introduced some quality monitoring systems and these were indicating that improvements across care and practice were improving. However, we found some poor performance and high levels of risk had been identified over several months and action taken was ineffective. It was not clear for some performance information that any action had been taken to address issues or drive improvement or that timescales were appropriate. The Trust Board had recently agreed a revised board assurance framework, which contained robust reporting and management systems. However, this was not yet fully introduced and embedded in the trust. There was a drive to improve staff morale and relationships with clinicians. New strategies had been introduced to improve communication and consultation, including ‘Listening Events’, whereby senior managers including the Chief Executive were meeting with staff groups.

Staff reported over the last few months, there had been improvements in staffing. The trust had initiated recruitment strategies, with some success. There had been an increase in the number of consultants and newly registered nurses. There had been advertising campaigns take place, including internationally and the trust was working with local universities. However, recruitment was proving a challenge.

Inspection carried out on 13, 14 December 2012

During a routine inspection

This report includes the evidence we gathered on our visits to the hospital. As well as inspectors from the Care Quality Commission we also took a pharmacy inspector, a theatre specialist and a person with professional experience of managing human resources.

During the visits we went to ten wards, the theatre suites, the accident and emergency department, the pharmacy department, the trust headquarters in Lincoln and the obstetrics and gynaecology unit. We spoke with patients, members of staff and senior managers as well as relatives. We also looked at some hospital records and gathered information from Lincolnshire County Council social services department and their safeguarding team. In addition, we gathered information from NHS Lincolnshire who commissioned the treatment patients received at the hospital.

Patients felt their privacy and dignity was respected and they were involved in their care. One patient told us, “I was asked by a consultant whether I minded a junior doctor doing a procedure on me. I told them I did so the consultant did it themselves.”

Apart from one, patients told us they were satisfied with the care they were receiving. One patient said, “I have had very good care.” We found that on the whole staff were aware of the needs of patients and familiar with their treatments. However, we found that in a few cases patients had not had their needs fully assessed and there were some gaps in records.

Inspection carried out on 21 May 2012

During a routine inspection

We carried out this review to see if people were given medicines safely and at the right times. We asked people whether staff explained why their medicines had been prescribed.

We visited six wards, where we talked to doctors, nurses, patients and the parents of a child. We also met three of the pharmacists who work in the hospital.

People told us they were very happy with the way doctors and nurses looked after them. One person said, “Everyone has been fantastic.” Another said, “I would give it 10 out of 10 for care. Any questions I have asked have been answered.”

One person was being given a continuous injection of fluid and did not know why they needed this.

We talked to a mum and dad on the children’s ward: They said that the plan for treating their child’s illness and the medicine prescribed had not been fully explained to them. The parents said that the ward was busy and noisy; this was difficult for them as their child was very poorly.

We met two people when we visited the discharge ward. Both people told us no-one had explained their ‘take home’ medicines to them. The nurses said that they had not talked to these people about their medicines as both of them were going to care homes where carers and other nurses would look after them.

Inspection carried out on 21 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.

Inspection carried out on 9 December 2011

During an inspection to make sure that the improvements required had been made

There is evidence of improved outcomes for people at this hospital. We also carried out an investigation in 2011 which was published in November 2011 and the trust has demonstrated that it has implemented actions designed to address the recommendations made in the report.

Since the report, the trust has provided a very comprehensive action plan to ensure that the quality of the care delivered is being assessed and monitored on a regular basis at all levels of management. The trust has put a new system in place to ensure that complaints and incidents are reported, tracked and investigated in a more timely way.

Patients said they were happy with the care they were getting and said that staff could not be more helpful. One patient who had been in hospital for five weeks said that she had not seen a miserable face from the staff and that they had been absolutely marvellous.

One member of staff said; “I am proud to work at this hospital and I think people get good care.” Another person said; “we have worked hard to improve. Things were not right here at the start of the year, but we have really moved on and have turned things around.” Another member of staff said; “I like my job and I like working here.”

When we spoke to a doctor they said that patients who could take food and drink by mouth were generally supported to do so by the nursing staff. They said that occasionally they had to help a patient to have a drink because the glass or beaker was out of reach or they were unable to drink independently.

In one ward a member of nursing staff said that they do what they can to organise a timely discharge but that sometimes it “doesn’t always work.” However, on another ward we were told by a patient that their discharge arrangements were already in place and that “everything is going according to plan”.

The patients we spoke with said that they felt safe in the hospital. When we asked what they would do if they didn’t, they told us that they would tell one of the nurses or the sister in charge of the ward. All of them said they felt confident that the staff would do something about it.

The majority of the communal areas and the wards we visited were clean and patients said that the wards were cleaned regularly. One lady described how her bed was washed down every day and her bed area was always clean and tidy.

One patient said, “They are always rushing around and are very busy all of the time.” Another patient said, “I don’t always get the help I need when I call them, I have to wait because they are really busy.” On another ward a patient said that “staff have always come when I have called.”

Two of the nurses we spoke with told us that they wished they had time to undertake more training to develop themselves but realised that patient care would always come first. Other nurses told us that they had attended a lot more training in recent months which had been very useful.

During this visit nursing staff told us that they felt they were more able to raise concerns through their line management system and they used incident reports to ensure that issues were properly looked at and actions taken to minimise the risk of them happening again.

We were informed by members of nursing staff and a doctor that notes were easy to use, with everything in one place and they were aware of the need to keep notes secure and confidential.

Inspection carried out on 31 May 2011

During an inspection in response to concerns

Most of the patients and relatives that we talked to during our visits were satisfied with their care and many patients were very complimentary, particularly about the nursing staff. One person said, “the nurses are very good.” A small number of people raised some concerns with us which often related to poor communication between staff and the patient and or relative. Some patients and relatives made comments to us about the attitude of staff in that they had been rude to them or were pushing them too hard with rehabilitation. No patient, carers or relatives raised any concerns that they did not think that staff were competent to carry out their role but many people have been in touch with us outside of our visits to the hospital. People have told us about instances where they felt the care provided by the hospital fell short. We have referred these people to either the trusts own complaints process or to the local authority safeguarding team for further investigation.

On ward 6a, a care of the elderly ward for female patients, we observed a patient being helped to have a bath and the staff washed, cut and set her hair for her. We did not hear the call bells ringing on this ward and patients told us “we don’t need to ring, they (the nurses) are around us all the time.”

Patients told us they could tell the nurses if they were in any pain and they would be given pain killers. We observed staff asking patients if they were in pain and also saw evidence in care records that staff had reviewed pain during their hourly care rounds.

Several patients told us they did not find the clinical decisions unit (CDU) to be a pleasant environment, one person said, “the lights are too bright on there, they need to turn them down.” Another patient said, “it was too noisy on CDU.”

On one of the wards we saw twelve staff, including allied health professionals all taking part in the lunch service. We observed all of the patients during this meal time getting the help they needed to either sit comfortably to eat their own meal, or get help with feeding. We observed the staff checking on the patients that required no assistance to eat their meal to ensure they were actually managing and did not need any help. One patient told us they always saw the nurses giving patients help with their meals if they needed it. During all our visits to different wards we saw patients being offered drinks and we often saw staff helping patients to have a drink. We also observed drinks were in reach of patients that had restricted mobility.

Patients told us they knew what any new medications they had been prescribed were for and they could tell the nurses if they were in pain and would be given pain killers. We observed the care of one patient who could not communicate verbally but was displaying non verbal signs of pain. This had not been identified by the staff caring for him until it was highlighted by the inspector. Once identified, the patient was given pain relief.

Inspection carried out on 7, 20, 21 February 2011

During a routine inspection

We spoke with people who were using the service in different specialities in the hospital. People told us that their privacy and dignity were maintained by staff. For example, people told us that the staff close their bed areas curtains when they deliver care and they keep them covered with blankets when they are not fully clothed. People also said that staff had introduced themselves and referred to them in an appropriate manner. During our site visits to the hospital however, we did not always find that people were being treated with dignity and respect.

Adults who had undergone surgery told us they had received clear explanations, including the risks and benefits of the intervention before being asked to sign a consent form. We did not always find that people had received explanations about their care and treatment and decisions were being made without being discussed with them and/or their relatives.

People being cared for at the hospital described differing experiences but the majority of people told us they were happy with the care they had received in the hospital. During our site visits to the hospital we found that people were not always being protected against the risks of receiving care or treatment that is inappropriate or unsafe because their care and treatment was not planned.

People have a wide choice of menu in the hospital and their religious and cultural requirements are provided for. One person said “the food is good and it’s much improved from what it used to be.” We observed lunch being served on three wards and saw a lack of support being offered to service users to enable them to eat and drink sufficient amounts for their needs.

Some people using the service did not feel that there was good communication between their GP and the hospital. Other agencies, such as the local doctors and some care home managers agreed with this and would like the hospital to improve.

People using the service told us that the hospital was clean most of the time and most people thought that the staff had the right equipment to do their job. During our site visits we observed some unclean bathrooms and the women’s unit was in a poor state of repair. People told us they were generally comfortable in the hospital but some women told us their wards were draughty, noisy and in a poor state of repair.

In most cases, people using the service told us they had been given their medication on time and when they needed it. Some people using the service told us that the staff appeared busy; one person said “the staff are always so busy and I don’t think there are enough of them sometimes so I don’t like to bother them.”

We found that not all people using the service were aware of how to make a complaint and during our observations we did not find it easy to locate information about how people could raise a concern or a compliment about their care and treatment. Some people also told us that the hospital did not always investigate their complaints thoroughly enough and in a timely way.