Calls for new trust inquiry

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CALLS for an independent inquiry into failings at the trust which runs Morecambe Bay hospitals have intensified.

The CQC regulatory body launched an investigation earlier this year into UHMBT hospitals where thousands of outpatient appointments were ‘lost’, security guards stood in for nurses and patients were left unattended in A&E without pain relief for seven hours.

Ten-day-old Joshua Titcombe died in November 2008 as a result of failures at the trust’s Furness General Hospital maternity unit.

However, a document has revealed that a senior Care Quality Commission official was warning in 2009 that further “tragedies” at Morecambe Bay NHS maternity units would only be avoided if care significantly improved.

The CQC unconditionally registered University Hospitals Morecambe Bay NHS Trust in April 2010 and also gave maternity services a clean bill of health.

Peter Walsh from Action against Medical Accidents said: “An independent inquiry is needed to answer serious questions about how different organisations supressed information and those responsible held to account.”

A spokesman for the CQC said it did have concerns about UHMBT in 2009 but it lacked enforcement powers until April 2010.

A spokesperson for UHMBT said: “There have been significant changes at the Trust over the last six months. We have listened to concerns raised by our regulators and have made good progress in all areas.”

nDeath rates published by the NHS Information Centre showed more than five patients per day across the area died in hospital or within a month of discharge.