Review ordered into patient safety concerns at Morecambe Bay hospitals trust unit

An independent review is to be held into patient safety concerns at a unit run by Morecambe Bay hospitals trust.

Thursday, 4th March 2021, 3:40 pm
Updated Thursday, 4th March 2021, 3:44 pm
The Royal Lancaster Infirmary is one of the hospitals run by UHMBT.

NHS England has ordered the review into the trauma and orthopaedics unit at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust (UMBHT).

The BBC initially reported that the investigation comes after concerns were raised about operations carried out by a surgeon between 2011 and 2018.

NHS England has stepped in after calls from staff and MPs including Westmorland and Lonsdale's Tim Farron..

The trust said it was aware of "historic concerns" and had already made improvements at the unit.

The Health Service Journal first reported that the trust had commissioned an external review into the trauma and orthopaedics department, but that review was overseen by trust executives.

Staff and MPs, including Mr Farron, then called for a further independent investigation into the concerns.

Those calls have led to NHS England overruling the trust, which runs the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, Furness General Hospital and Westmorland General Hospital, and ordering the external review.

Mr Farron said there was a need to know what "problems" UMBHT had so that all involved could "learn lessons".

He added that "no-one should fear that anything was being hidden away" and so it was right that the investigation was "independent and removed from the trust".

NHS England and NHS Improvement ( NHS E/I) confirmed that they had commissioned the review.

Dr Shahedal Bari, UHMBT medical director, said: "We are aware of some concerns with our trauma and orthopaedic service - we have already made a number of improvements to address them and are working with NHS England to continue to monitor progress.”

The trust added that quality and safety are of "the highest priority" for the trust and is one of their main strategic aims. Speaking out is also encouraged across the trust when colleagues have concerns.

They continued: "We have continued to keep our local MPs including Tim Farron MP informed and made it clear we were in discussion with NHS E/I about an external review of the cases.

"We are pleased that they have worked with us to get to this conclusion, and we want to reassure everyone that the orthopaedic service is safe and that this further independent review and scrutiny will help us to provide additional reassurance."

In October 2019, further concerns regarding the orthopaedic service were sent to the chief executive, which posed a number of further questions.

The chief executive met with those individuals within a week and promptly appointed an independent external orthopaedic consultant to carry out a review of the concerns raised.

That review reported in January 2020 and made some recommendations for the service, which have been and continue to be implemented.

A separate review into the trust's urology department is also under way.