Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, that is in ‘special measures’, is to be mentored by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
The move comes as part of Health Minster Jeremy Hunt’s announcement that trusts with ‘special measures’ will work with other high performers to help them improve services.
Dr James Whittingham, Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust chairman, said: “At the time of the Secretary of State’s announcement, a partner organisation had not been identified for our Trust.
“To supplement our efforts, we have been given the opportunity to have some mentoring support from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which we are happy to accept.
“We will now consider the areas in which we would like to be mentored or where we think we may be able to learn from the Sheffield hospitals trust and then discuss this.”
The Sheffield trust has already been partnered with a trust that is in ‘special measures’, United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust.
Karen Jackson, chief executive at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our action plan is well underway and we are quickly working our way through the Keogh review’s recommendations.
“Our SHMI mortality rate is steadily reducing and we have either implemented or are piloting a number of new initiatives such as mandatory training to help identify deteriorating patients, the reduction of patient falls, improved nutrition and hydration, hourly checks on patients, and the recruitment of additional nurses and healthcare assistants.
“W e look forward to working with Sheffield on some specific parts of our plan to help us complete our improvement journey.”
In the partnering arrangement it is for the Trust to identify areas where the Sheffield team could be helpful. The arrangement with Sheffield will not involve any changes to the current management team. It will not involve managers from the Sheffield trust sitting on the Trust’s committees or Board, or making any decisions within or about the Trust.
Sir Andrew Cash, chief executive of the Sheffield trust, said: “We have been asked by the regulator Monitor to offer mentoring support to Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
“The Trust has already made significant progress in addressing the issues raised in the Keogh review. Our role will be to supplement this by offering mentoring support where the Trust feels it would be helpful and also to share good practice.
“We expect that in some areas there will also be good practice in Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust which can be shared with us in Sheffield. The detail of the buddying still has to be agreed.”
The ‘special measures’ or conditions that Monitor placed on the NLaG’s licence following the Keogh review remain in place.
These are: for the Trust to fulfil all recommendations made in the Keogh report; and for the Trust to commission reviews of clinical leadership and of the governance of care quality. Monitor also has the power to make future changes to the leadership team if it believes it is necessary.
The Trust currently has a green/green rating on finance and governance, which means the Trust is meeting all its legally binding performance targets, but this is overridden by an automatic ‘red’ rating that Monitor place on any foundation trust that has ‘special measures’.