Lancashire trust workers asked to avoid holidays during inspection

Dee Roach, director of nursing, quality and governance at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust
Dee Roach, director of nursing, quality and governance at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust
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Staff at a Lancashire health trust have been told not to take any time off during an upcoming inspection.

In a memo seen by the Evening Post, Lancashire Care Trust has requested that no ‘non essential annual leave’ is taken between April 13 and May 8 to support the Care Quality Commission inspection.

As part of the visit, a large number of Trust staff, clinical and managerial, have a role in helping with the logistics of the visit itself

Dee Roach - Director of nursing, quality and governance at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust

Workers have been told the move is to make sure “there are as many staff as possible to ensure that our service users, carers, relatives and staff are as fully supported as possible leading up to, during and after the inspection.”

A staff member, who asked to remain anonymous, said today: “We are cut to the bone – it is horrendous.

“It is about trying to give an artificially high number of staff for the time of the inspection. At the end of the day if you have enough staff you would carry on with annual leave.”

But the Walton Summit-based health trust said the move isn’t about making the trust appear fully staffed – it is to make sure it can ‘facilitate the logistics of the inspection without compromising patient care’ and bosses say they are excited and looking forward to the inspection.

The Evening Post understands the CQC has also been informed of the memo.

The note to staff from the trust’s associate director of nursing, Paul Tipping, added: “This applies to all staff and managers across the organisation, both Corporate and within the Networks. Please note that if you have already booked annual leave during this period, it will be honoured.”

Dee Roach, director of nursing, quality and governance at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, explained: “The Trust’s overriding priority throughout the upcoming CQC visit is to maintain high quality, compassionate services for our patients.

“As part of the visit, a large number of Trust staff, clinical and managerial, have a role in helping with the logistics of the visit itself.

“This will include accompanying the team on inspections, talking to them about the service, supporting the inspectors to access records as well as facilitating responses to questions raised on the day.

“The CQC have asked the Trust to ensure that it has additional staff available to support this, to minimise the impact of the inspection on patients and their care and the Trust’s day to day business.

“The inspection will be the biggest and most complex one undertaken in Lancashire, involving over 100 inspectors travelling the length and breadth of the county to visit the wide range of services that the Trust provides.

“As well as visiting each of our mental health inpatient units, inspectors will also be inspecting a large proportion of our community and specialist services. As we have said to staff, this request only applies to non-essential leave and any leave already booked will be honoured.

“For staff requiring essential leave during this time, they will be supported to take this and the Trust appreciates the support of staff so far in the run up to the inspection.”

A CQC spokesman added: “We do ask the trust to ensure that there are sufficient staff to support the inspection and that this does mean that we would expect there to be more staff available during our period of inspection as we will be running groups for staff and inspecting the wards and we would not want our inspection to impact on care deliver.”