East Lancs hospitals keen to implement further improvements

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Royal Blackburn Royal Blackburn

AN action plan has been drawn up to tackle a number of concerns across the Royal Blackburn and Burnley General hospitals after the institutions were taken out of ‘special measures’ by watchdogs.

There are still six key services, across the two sites, which are said to ‘require improvement’, according to inspectors from the Care Quality Commission.

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust bosses have pledged to address each of the concerns in the coming months after the Pennine Lancashire Pat-ient Voices Group noted there were still issues to be addressed.

The accident and em-ergency ward at Blackburn and urgent care centre at Burnley have provoked concerns, with not enough appropriately-qualified staff to deal with children at the former and inadequate provisions to deal with mental health patients at both locations.

Skilled and experienced medics should be on hand in future to care for ‘very unwell children’ and personalised support shou-ld be forthcoming, accor-ding to the trust.

Medical care at Royal Blackburn was another worry but CQC inspectors accept steps have been made to bridge the gap between acute and comm-unity care.

Another concern was the availability of transport for unwell urgent care centre patients at Burnley who needed to be transferred to Blackburn – which should be covered through ongoing discussions with the North West Ambulance Service.

And after a number of negative reports regarding discharges at Blackburn, the trust must ensure there are appropriate checks in place before patients are released home. Plans are going to be put in place to conduct more thorough assessments of patients before they are placed on discharge wards.

Each site also had reported difficulties with ‘end-of-life care’ and the trust will now look to ensure that their bereavement service has sufficient resources.

The cancellation of out-patient clinics at short notice, and ensuring clinics run to time is another target.

Jim Birrell, the trust’s interim chief executive, said: “The trust has responded quickly to the inspection report.”

Dr Mike Ions, chief clinical officer for East Lancashire Clinical Comm-issioning Group, one of the trust’s two main funders, said: “We recognise that there are still areas of concern.”

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