The Trust which runs the Royal Preston Hospital and Chorley Hospital has been told it ‘Requires Improvement’ by health watchdogs.
Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) visited the Trust between July 2 and August 8 and their findings have been announced today.
They found that in terms of being well-led, the Trust improved to be rated Good, but it retained the previous ratings of Requires Improvement for safe, effective, and responsive and Good for caring. Overall the trust remains at Requires Improvement.
Inspectors reported not enough substantive staff with the right skills and experience were deployed and patients could not always access services when they needed to.
The finances of the Trust were also a concern, deteriorating to a deficit of £50.4m against a plan of a £46.4m and “the Trust is reliant on external loans to meet its financial obligations and deliver its services.”
Inspectors also noted that at the time of the assessment, the Trust was not meeting the constitutional operational performance standards around Referral to Treatment (RTT), cancer and Accident and Emergency.
Positively, it was noted that “leaders were knowledgeable about the issues facing services and had a clear vision for quality improvements” and the Trust was praised for its rates of emergency readmissions, Did Not Attend rates, staff retention and top 10 medicines within pharmacy.
Karen Partington, Chief Executive at the Trust, said: “It’s great to see that we are moving in the right direction, however, we are not yet where we want to be.
“We are committed to continuously improving the safety, patient and staff experience and effectiveness of our hospitals moving towards an overall rating of ‘good’ and ultimately ‘outstanding.’”
She said that a number of improvement programmes are in place and “our focus now is to rapidly spread the learning from the areas that have improved, continue to build a learning and improvement culture within the organisation to deliver excellent care with compassion for patients accessing all of our services.”
Tim Watkinson, Chair of the Trust, said: “We will celebrate the improvements evidenced within the CQC report; we are on a journey to being rated as ‘good’ overall and have made significant steps towards this.
“Whilst we are naturally disappointed that our overall rating has not changed this time, there is a commitment from the Board to work tirelessly on the areas that require improvement.”