Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire hospitals ‘cannot carry on like this’, says CEO

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Lincolnshire’s hospital chief admitted that the trust “cannot carry on” like it is and needs to improve drastically over the next five years.

Andrew Morgan, chief executive of United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, said he wants to see the trust be “outstanding” and has tabled an improvement plan.

ULHT currently finds itself in both quality and financial special measures with a forecast end of year deficit of £70 million.

Mr Morgan, who recently agreed to stay on as CEO until 2022, said the county’s hospitals cannot go on as they are and they can improve.

“I believe this trust can get to be an outstanding trust by 2025 at the latest,” he said.

Hospital bosses agreed an integrated improvement plan for the next five years, which aims to make the organisation an “outstanding” trust.

But, Mr Morgan said the scale of improvement will be a “journey” for the county’s hospitals.

Financial and quality woes

While the trust is on target to reach its deficit plan agreed with regulator NHS Improvement, Mr Morgan said it was “not out of the woods yet”.

At the start of the financial year, ULHT set a target of £70.3 million for its overspend.

So far, the trust is on track to meet that plan and recorded a £34 million deficit at the end of 2019.

However, Mr Morgan said the trust’s overspend could be around £90 million due to an “underlying deficit”.

Lincoln County Hospital. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Elsewhere, the trust also has a backlog of maintenance bills reaching into the hundreds of millions and still needs capital funding to expand Lincoln A&E.

Mr Morgan said there was still a “significant financial problem” which “eats away at energy” and can be demoralising for staff.

Meanwhile, the trust also finds itself in quality special measures and is rated as “requires improvement” by the Care Quality Commission.

Mr Morgan said the organisation has been in this position for a long time and it needs to be sorted.

“While we are in this position, we will always be under the spotlight,” he said.

“We just can’t let this carry on. We can’t let the quality concerns carry on and we can’t let the financial problems carry on.

“That’s why we have an improvement plan to once and for all sort this trust out.”

A plan to improve

Earlier this month, senior health officials approved a five-year improvement plan with an aim to make ULHT an “outstanding” trust.

The strategy outlines four areas the organisation needs to target in order to improve.

Andrew Morgan (second from right), chief executive of United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, has said he is “committed” to making improvements.

These include patients, people, services and partners.

Among the priorities in the plan are improving patient experience, using resources efficiently and having “well led” services.

Mr Morgan described the strategy as a “root and branch” approach which makes clear what the trust wants to achieve.

“My commitment and the work that we have been doing is about an integrated improvement plan,” he said.

“It gets us from where we are now, a double special measures trust that has ratings problems,  money problems and has staff feedback problems to one that is well on the journey to becoming outstanding.”

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