Royal Lancaster Infirmary A&E staffing ‘at crisis level’

THE district’s beleaguered hospital trust has been warned it must improve staffing levels at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary after an unannounced inspection last month.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has given the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust until March 16 to make improvements in the hospital’s A&E department.

If the trust does not comply with the order action taken could go as far as closing the emergency unit at the RLI.

The CQC announced last month that they were investigating UMBHT’s emergency care and this inquiry is ongoing.

Debbie Westhead, North West Regional Lead for the CQC said: “An unannounced inspection of the A&E department just before Christmas raised real concerns about staffing levels – staff themselves told our inspectors that these were ‘at crisis level’.”

Tony Halsall, chief executive of the trust, said: “As a result of the CQC warning notice, we will be taking further steps to ensure that there are enough suitably qualified staff available at all times.

“However, since the CQC unannounced visit in December 2011, we have reviewed staffing levels across our hospitals to ensure that patients get seen as quickly as possible and are treated at the right time, in the right place.”

For the full story see this week’s paper.