East Lancashire NHS Trust in ‘special measures’

Burnley General Hospital. Urgent Care Unit.

Burnley General Hospital. Urgent Care Unit.

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East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust has been placed in special measures after an investigation carried out by NHS medical director Prof. Sir Bruce Keogh following “excess” death rates going back years.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt highlighted issues with professional governance; inadequate staffing levels; higher death rates at weekends and a lack of compassion, with patients and relatives feeling they were “talked down to”.

As major concerns about the local health trust were highlighted in the House of Commons minutes ago, East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust announced the departure of its chairman, Hazel Harding CBE, and chief nurse Mrs Lynn Wissett.

A statement from Hazel Harding read: “It is with regret I will not be seeking re-appointment as chair of the Trust at the end of my current term on July 31st. Due to health problems and on-going treatment, this has given me the opportunity to reassess my workload and lifestyle. I do not feel I can continue to lead the Trust with the vigour and commitment during these challenging times and have come to the reluctant conclusion to step aside with immediate effect to enable another chair to lead the organisation.

“I have had the opportunity to work with an extremely dedicated group of staff and would like to pay tribute to them for continuing to work with dedication to ensure the local population receives the best healthcare and I wish them the very best for the future.”

Mr Martin Hill, currently deputy Chairman, will be acting as chairman until an appointment is made by the NHS Trust Development Authority.

Mr Mark Brearley, Chief Executive at the Trust added: “We would like to thank Hazel for the four years of commitment and dedication to the Trust and we wish her well for the future.”

Mr Mark Brearley, Chief Executive of East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, announced the news over chief nurse Mrs Wissett, saying: “Mrs Lynn Wissett, Chief Nurse and Deputy Chief Executive, advised me earlier in the year she was intending to retire.

“After further consideration, Lynn has decided to relinquish her role with immediate effect to give the opportunity to the new Chief Nurse when appointed to work with executive colleagues and senior team members to deliver the requirements within the Trust’s Keogh report and provide a consistent approach.

“We would like to thank Lynn for her long and dedicated service to the Trust and wish her well for the future.”