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Saturday, 22 November 2014

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Complaints by hospital staff in Cumbria more than double in 5 years

Complaints by hospital staff against the north Cumbria trust have more than doubled in five years.

Figures obtained under a Freedom of Information request reveal that North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust received 16 complaints in 2008.

Of those, one was subsequently withdrawn, eight were not upheld and seven were resolved informally. The majority of these were within the trust’s medicine and family and clinical support divisions.

By last year, that figure had risen dramatically, with staff lodging 39 grievances against the trust, which covers both West Cumberland Hospital, in Whitehaven, and the Cumberland Infirmary, in Carlisle.

These were evenly split between the corporate division, family and clinical support, surgery and medicine divisions.

Three were upheld completely, and a further two were partially upheld. The trust resolved 10 informally, two were subsequently withdrawn and 18 are ongoing.

Sean Gibson, from Unison, blamed the rise on the former management within the trust but expressed hopes that this number will fall after the proposed acquisition by Northumbria Healthcare.

“I think these figures reflect the previous management direction,” he explained. “It seemed to be that the only way to move things forward was to exercise the right to take a grievance against management procedures.

“You will probably find the level of grievances will fall, as I cannot see this pattern continuing.”

The trust did not have anything to add to the figures. The acquisition was due to have been completed on April 1, but has been delayed again after Northumbria expressed concerns about north Cumbria’s finances.

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