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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS


Home > News > Report confirms more lives being saved in North Cumbria

Report confirms more lives being saved in North Cumbria

Posted on Monday 9th February 2015
Nurse practioners

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust has today welcomed a national report which confirms that more lives are being saved in North Cumbria thanks to vital safety changes made by healthcare leaders.

Data published by healthcare analysts Dr Foster in a report called ‘Is Special Measures Working?’, shows a consistent reduction in North Cumbria’s mortality rate since 2012 following a number of vital measures put in place by the Trust.

The improved mortality rate gives clear evidence that fewer people are dying in North Cumbria’s hospitals and more people are surviving serious injury or illness and going on to live longer lives with better outcomes following their stay in hospital. The Trust is very clear, however, that much more needs to be done to improve this positive downward trend even further.

Several safety changes were implemented following the arrival of chief executive Ann Farrar and medical director Dr Jeremy Rushmer in September 2012, resulting in more effective care for patients, improved clinical outcomes and more lives being saved.  These measures included:

  • October 2012 - a comprehensive mortality review to understand where immediate improvements were required and a new weekly mortality review to ensure continuous improvement
  • June 2013 - care for all trauma and emergency orthopaedic patients centralised at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle where dedicated surgeons, anaesthetists and full theatre teams are available 24/7 for patients needing emergency orthopaedic surgery  
  • June 2013 - a new model of seven-day consultant cover between 8am and 10pm, leading to a demonstrable impact on both staff and patient experience and on clinical outcomes, with patients able to see a senior doctor much quicker for diagnosis and to begin an appropriate treatment pathway sooner
  • July 2013 - care for all emergency cardiac patients centralised at The Heart Centre in Carlisle where patients can now undergo instant angioplasty treatment to unblock arteries in the heart.  Previously patients had to travel outside of the county to Newcastle or Middlesbrough for such lifesaving care

 October 2013 - all complex high risk surgery centralised at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle, making sure people get access to the right specialists sooner so that appropriate surgical care and treatment can begin quicker.

In 2012, North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust was recorded as having one of the highest Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratios (HSMR) in England and was visited in the summer of 2013 by a specialist review team as part of the national Keogh Review process. Following this, the Trust became one of 11 organisations nationally to be put into special measures with the NHS Trust Development Authority (TDA) in July 2013. 

The new Dr Foster report concludes that ‘special measures’ has been effective in reducing mortality rates across the 11 trusts as a whole.  For North Cumbria however, the report shows a consistent downward trend since 2012 – both before and after special measures: 

Welcoming the report, Dr Jeremy Rushmer was clear there is still much further to go on the Trust’s improvement journey.

“This report confirms that the difficult but important safety changes we have made, particularly to transfer certain patients from West Cumbria to Carlisle, were absolutely the right decisions to make and have resulted in more lives being saved.  Our staff have responded magnificently, embracing new ways of working and constantly striving to improve care even further for our patients.

“We are under absolutely no illusions, however, that there is still much more to do, as outlined in our draft clinical options paper published last October, to ensure our patients get access to the very best possible care, from their local NHS, as they truly deserve.

“We are now working with partners to move this work forward as soon as possible in the best interests of both patients and staff.”

Chief executive Ann Farrar also welcomed the report. She said: “Today’s report is excellent news but not unexpected, given the considerable amount of hard work from all of our staff to improve clinical outcomes for our patients. 

“The continued reduction we have seen in mortality is down to the vital safety changes we made in 2012/13 and the facts speak very clearly for themselves that more lives are being saved in our hospitals.

“What is clear, however, is that we still have much more work to do and we have been very open in our draft clinical options appraisal about the challenges we continue to face in key clinical areas which simply must now move forward to provide clarity for both patients and staff.  We are working closely with our commissioners NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group on next steps with this work.”