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Friday Message – 7 November 2015

Jackie is on leave this week, and I am once again pleased to be able to write this week’s message.

I’ve a number of items I wanted to talk about, but first I would like to ask for your support.

I will mention later in this message about car parking at work, specifically at the RLI. It’s a problem for many of us, I know.  Whilst some recent changes have improved the situation for our patients, it has meant it is more challenging for our staff at times to park. I am also aware that the issues are not just at the RLI. I understand and share the frustration; however I’ve been informed that on a number of occasions our car parking attendants are receiving verbal abuse from colleagues, this is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated.

The car parking attendants are doing their very best, can I please ask that we show them the respect they deserve.

A key part of their role, as it is for us all, is to ensure the safety of everyone who uses our hospitals, we often at the RLI have cars parked on double yellow lines within the site and on corners, however difficult it is to park, we cannot restrict access to emergency vehicles.

I’ve provided an update below regarding the proposed multi-storey car park for the RLI.


We will share more details in Weekly News next week, but I’ve just been informed that our Facilities Team has won a Team of the Year award!  This is great news and I would like to congratulate them on their achievement. I know first-hand how hard they all work for the benefit of our patients and our staff. I couldn’t be more proud – well done to you all.


RLI 4As many of you will know, as part of our ambitions under Better Care Together, we have been looking as to how we can significantly improve the environment of a number of our clinical services. Earlier this year our estates teams provided information sessions at each our sites where staff could come along and find out more about the plans to improve our hospital buildings, I wanted today, to update you all regarding the Royal Lancaster Infirmary element of these plans.

These plans are based on a number of factors, not least the ability for the Trust to access additional capital funds over the next ten years.  Whilst these plans involve all of our hospitals, I want to share with you possible imminent developments at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

For those staff who are not too familiar with the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, it is a site which has developed over a century or more.  With different buildings ‘bolted’ on as money has become available.  The result is a site which is costly to maintain and at best, ineffective in supporting our staff to offer the very best care to our patients.  Services are not logically located, and due to the age of some of the buildings, no longer of a quality which is required and expected for a modern hospital.

To some extent the hospital is also a little ‘land locked, with a canal, main road, houses and an expanding school all running alongside its boundaries.

As you can imagine developing such a site has a few logistical challenges, not least, that whilst it is being developed patients need to be treated in clean and quiet clinical areas.  The aim is that over the period of development, there will be a series of moves, where one service might be temporarily relocated, whilst another moves into a refurbished, or newly built home. Deciding which service moves first has been based on a number of factors, particularly the clinical need and how any change will fit into the wider Better Care Together strategy, such as services moving to a community setting.

Over the next 12 months, subject to receiving the appropriate funding, we aim to progress with:

·         Alignment of services for patients who suffer from heart problems, stroke and for elderly frail patients who require reviewing rapidly, to ensure they can be cared for in an environment that is best for them.  This will also increase access to specialist beds, and make our largest ward, Ward 39, more manageable by reducing its size.  Ward 39 as you know has been a concern raised by the Care Quality Commission.  The divisional leadership team has now established a project to support this development over the coming weeks and months, a key part of this will be ensuring that all staff and partners involved in these are have an opportunity to comment and be involved.

·         Relocating our oncology unit into more suitable premises, on site.  Whilst some recent improvements have been made to the environment, we need still need to do more to improve the environment and experience for our patients and staff.  A project team have been set-up and they are currently looking at the opportunities for its move.

·         Developing access to the site, with the potential for a multi-storey car park. Recent changes have resulted in improvements for patients, however this is viewed as a short term fix and staff are continuing to find it very difficult to park. We are still committed to working with staff to find a longer term solution. However in the meantime, we do need to find a way of easing the pressures for car parking on the site.  There isn’t a single, easy fix to this and we will need the continued cooperation and support of all staff. If we are able to finance a new car park, we will need the collective support of all staff as there will be considerable disruption whilst it is built.

I am aware this is all about the RLI and our estate plans cover all of our sites.  I will ensure that further updates are shared about other developments, such as the exciting proposals which are being drawn up for a new maternity unit at FGH.  We recently held an event in Barrow for staff and the public to come along and find out more, the designs will be shortly be displayed at all of our sites.


Jackie has recently written to you all about the current pressure on our services. I wanted to take this opportunity to add my personal thanks for the hard work that is taking place 24/7 for our patients. I know the timely discharge of our patients still remains a challenge and we are continuing to work with our commissioners and other partners to improve this situation.


Rumours happen, I understand that, but I am picking up a number of comments as I visit our different sites that some staff believe they know the outcome of our CQC re-inspection. Such rumours can be very demoralising for colleagues.

Let me try to dispel the rumours that are going around.

We do not yet know the date when the report will be published, but confident it will be nearer the end of this month.  We have not received the final report, or the final rating for the Trust, nor have we received any notice from Monitor regarding Special Measures.

That said, whilst we still have more to do to continually improve, everyone continues to work extremely hard to raise standards and I remain optimistic that this will be reflected.

The process for publication of the report is the same as last year.  The Trust, along with a number of other NHS organisations and Monitor, will attend a Quality Summit where the CQC will present their findings, the final report and proposed rating.  At this meeting we will have the opportunity to discuss the findings and our response, before agreeing any further actions that may be needed.  Shortly after (days), the CQC will then publish the reports. It is likely that at the same time the reports are published, Monitor would also provide an update as to the Trust’s position regarding Special Measures.

I hope this update helps. I would be grateful that if you hear such rumours if you could update your colleagues as to the actual position.  As Jackie said in her Friday Message last week, as soon as we have any official, public information we will share it with you all.

CQC consultation on the Appointment of a National Guardian

Following on from the Freedom to Speak Up review and the government’s response in the “Learning not Blaming” document, the CQC have published a consultation document about the appointment of a National Guardian and the role that they should play in encouraging NHS staff to raise incidents and concerns. The National Guardian role is intended to benefit all NHS Trusts and the consultation document asks whether the defined role for this post is what NHS staff would require from the National Guardian. You can find out more information on this in the Weekly News on Tuesday 17th November.


Aaron Cummins

Director of Finance and Deputy Chief Executive

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