NHS staff at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust have recently passed a vote of no confidence in the board of the Trust.
The Trust was recently awarded a rating of ‘requires improvement’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) who had previously awarded the Trust a rating of ‘inadequate’.
In its report, the CQC noted that the Trust was heavily dependent on locum staff, was understaffed and at times had an inappropriate skill mix operating across different services.
The report also noted that not all managers exhibited the capacity to lead, governance arrangements were not always clear and that no capacity and demand modelling had been undertaken in cases where services were closed or relocated.
Staff in a letter written to the Chair of the Trust stated the vote was triggered due to the fact the Trust had failed to act on significant issues previously raised by staff. The letter went on to state:
“These issues we now believe are so significant that there is now an irretrievable breakdown in partnership working and the staff side committee has no confidence with their trust board”.
Unite which is representing staff in the dispute was damning of what they termed as the Trust’s “petty HR regime” that “seems more concerned about the colour of socks employees wear than dealing with staff grievances and concerns raised in relation to patient safety and frontline staff shortages.”
The news comes at a time when NHS Trusts and hospitals across England are bracing themselves for another winter crisis – a crisis which the NHS predicts will be worse this year than last year, when 55,000 operations were cancelled in December 2017 and January 2018 to cope with winter pressures.
Reacting to the news of the no confidence vote a National Health Action Party spokesperson stated:
“Patient safety must always come first, and it is imperative that Trust leaders listen to those working on the ground and address their concerns. As we enter the most challenging time of year for hospitals across the NHS it is vital that we begin to address the chronic staff shortages which are undermining performance. Unite and staff at the Trust are right to raise concerns over the financial soundness of overreliance on locum staff and a further spending spree of £700,000 on new managerial positions and consultant advice from KPMG in the context of a clear rebuke of the current management by the Care Quality Commission and an estimated deficit of £80m”