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Update on improvement work in our Urology Service

29 June 2023

  • Making improvements

NHS England has today published an assurance review summarising progress towards 48 recommendations made in the report, An independent investigation into Urology services at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, first published in November 2021. 

The process which led to that independent investigation started in 2019, when the Trust began to investigate concerns which had been raised regarding the service and culminated in the publication of the report, commissioned by NHS England and written by Niche Health and Social Care Consulting. 

The report contained a series of recommendations for improvement, which the Trust accepted and has been working to implement. 

The assurance review highlights progress to date along with areas requiring further development.

Key achievements highlighted in the report include:

  • Progress has been made in relation to all recommendations
  • The team from Niche congratulated the Urology Department on progress to date
  • Particular progress has been made in key clinical areas that presented patient safety risks, including:
  • Improved professional relationships within the Urology department through a facilitated cultural development programme
  • Introduction of a stent register to ensure that stents are removed or replaced within agreed time frames
  • Training has also been provided to all Urology medical and nursing staff on fluid balance recording as part of a wider selection of measures focused on nutrition and hydration
  • Focus by the Trust on the Mental Capacity Act and ensuring that care is given in line with the best interests of patients who do not have the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves, including those with dementia or learning disabilities.
  • Updated policies and procedures for recording consent, along with the trialling of e-consenting across the Trust, including by some Urology consultants
  • High levels of compliance in physiological observations and escalation through the National Early Warning Score (NEWS2)

Prof. Mike Thomas, Chair, UHMBT, said: “This progress is positive news, but we know we need to do more. Feedback we have received from Niche is that we need to maintain momentum to achieve further improvements, though it is important to note that this is not the sole responsibility of the clinical team. In particular, the review highlights areas for improvement in areas of governance and leadership that we are working to address.

“We would like to thank the Urology team for the dedication they have shown and are pleased that the safety improvements they are made have been highlighted in the new assurance review. We know that they remain committed to further improving and making sure those improvements are sustained for years to come.”

Aaron Cummins, Chief Executive, UHMBT, said: “The Trust Board acknowledges that governance was not good enough in the past and issues raised were not addressed. Our priority now is making further progress and ensuring the recommendations are met in a robust and sustainable way. This work will improve the care we offer to all patients across the Trust, not just in Urology services.”

Work has begun on a new Urology Investigations Unit at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, which forms a key part of the Trust’s improvement plans. Benefits of the new unit, due to open in October, will include significantly speeding up the hospital treatment pathway for some cancers and reducing the need for patients in the Lancaster and Morecambe area to travel to Kendal or Barrow for appointments.

You can read the assurance review in full here.