West, North and East Cumbria Success Regime CQC Response Document

The West, North and East Cumbria Success Regime has published the response document it sent to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) at the end of March. 

Sir Neil McKay, the Chair of the Success Regime Programme Board said, “I hope this document will give the CQC sufficient reassurance to recommend that North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust (NCUHT) can now leave Special Measures.”

The document addresses concerns raised by the CQC about services provided by NCUHT.  These concerns resulted in the CQC maintaining the Trust in Special Measures.  The document confirms the actions being taken to stabilise the most fragile acute hospital services and to improve performance against key constitutional targets including A&E performance and waiting times.  The document has the full support of all the local the statutory health and care organisations. 

It confirms that the Success Regime’s aim is to deliver more services within the community, protecting and enhancing primary care and strengthening out-of-hospital services, while also encouraging individuals to change their behaviour to prevent poor health and reduce overall demand on the health service.  This will enable NCUHT to focus on delivering secure, safe, stable, and high-performing acute hospital services.

The actions set out in this document, while focusing on acute hospital services provided by NCUHT, are therefore being progressed within the wider context of an emerging clinical strategy which reflects local needs and future resource availability.

They are also being taken in the context of the Success Regime’s ambition to position West, North and East Cumbria as an area recognised for its expertise in delivering integrated health and care for people living in rural, remote and dispersed communities. This will require services to be underpinned by a comprehensive approach to public health and prevention and characterised by strong clinical networks across health and social care.

The publication of the CQC response document is the next step in the Success Regime’s drive towards turning talk into action and making West, North and East Cumbria’s ambitions a reality.  The document confirms the need:

  • For a system-wide approach to health and social care.
  • For more effective workforce recruitment.
  • To seize the opportunities offered by new technology

The document says that the fragility of some key services, including general practice and some hospital services, means that it is important we move forward rapidly to address these pressures.  It also outlines a number of potential scenarios that have been developed to help inform thinking on the possible configuration of acute services should existing configurations prove unsustainable.  The scenarios are not specific proposals but they do set out some of the tough choices that may need to be considered by the local health and care system and by local communities.  These include choices about the future of maternity services, optional approaches to the way in which we develop our community hospitals and options on the future delivery of children’s services.

In September 2015 the CQC wrote to the Secretary of State for Health asking for a sustainable clinical strategy within 6 months and a plan for the future organisation and management of acute services.  The published document is a detailed response to these requests - particularly those relating to medical care provided at West Cumberland Hospital.  It also outlines the ongoing work which will lead to public consultation and a way forward for maternity services.

Sir Neil McKay said, “I have made it clear to the CQC that any decisions about radical options for the long term delivery of services cannot be resolved until public consultation has taken place.  I have little doubt that tough decisions will be necessary but I am determined that post-consultation decisions will be designed to further enhance the safety and stability of local services.”

The full report can be viewed here