Pilgrim Hospital in Boston.

Struggling ‘inadequate’ hospitals trust has an £88.2m deficit

The group that oversees hospitals in south Lincolnshire, including the Pilgrim Hospital, is £88.2m in the red and has been branded ‘inadequate’ over how it uses its resources.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) has also been told it still “requires improvement” by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and will remain in special measures following an inspection from June 11 to July 18.

The report, which was published on October 17 was primarily about the use of resources.

It says: “Whilst it is recognised the NHS trust is providing services from a number of geographically dispersed sites and has numerous workforce challenges, there still remains scope to improve productivity in its clinical and support services in particular.

“The NHS trust also continues to operate with a significant deficit and is not meeting its control totals.”

The report goes on to highlight workforce gaps and the costs associated with outsourcing those with services “delivered at a higher cost than most NHS trusts”.

It continues that ULHT had hoped to “control” its deficit to £55 million, but it instead rose to £88.2 million.

“The NHS trust is not meeting any of the constitutional operational standards and its performance is below national median,” the report states.

ULHT was rated “good” in the caring category and the CQC said it was meeting most operational performance standards. A successful re-configuring of the Pilgrim Hospital beds was also praised.

But with regards “Outstanding practice” the report simply states “None identified”.

Areas to improve include optimising the workforce, reducing staff absence while also working towards “efficiency opportunities”.

ULHT chief executive Andrew Morgan said: “We are disappointed that despite all of our best efforts, we have not made the progress we wanted and therefore will not be coming out of special measures.

“We acknowledge that we have more to do to improve our rating, but we’d like to reassure our patients and public that although many areas of our hospitals were rated as ‘Requires Improvement’ in this latest inspection, we maintain a focus on providing safe, quality care to our patients and our rating for ‘Caring’ was ‘Good’.

“Many of the issues identified are structural – around governance, staffing shortages, estates issues, lack of digital maturity and financial pressures. It is also clear that we need to focus on recruitment, leadership, staff training and competencies, staff engagement and addressing workforce inequalities.

“We also acknowledge particular concerns around our emergency departments and are taking action to ensure that improvements are made as quickly as possible. We also took immediate action to address the CQC’s urgent concerns following their visits.

“We are determined to take this feedback and make significant improvements across the trust, for the benefit of our staff and patients.”

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