Patient safety fears have been sparked at four Lincolnshire hospitals, after health unions passed a ‘no confidence’ vote in NHS bosses.

Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said that the management of United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust appeared to be more worried about the colour of the socks staff wore or the colour of their hair than the fact there was understaffing on the wards in some of the hospitals.
Unite and the other staff side unions have passed a vote of ‘no confidence’ in the top management at the trust which embraces Lincoln County Hospital; Grantham and District Hospital;  Pilgrim Hospital in Boston; and  County Hospital in Louth.
Now Unite has called for NHS Improvement (NHSI), responsible for overseeing NHS trusts, and the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the regulator for health and social care services in England, to pay a second visit to the trust for a more in-depth investigation.
The staff side committee wrote to Elaine Baylis, interim trust chair, on 7 December saying it had raised ‘significant’ issues on a number of occasions that were still ongoing.
The letter said: “These issues we now believe are so significant that there is now an irretrievable breakdown in partnership working and the staff side committee has no confidence with their trust board.”  

The committee has also called on the conciliation service Acas to intervene to develop a working partnership.
Unite regional officer Steve Syson said: “We have a chaotic management at this trust which is running an estimated deficit of £80 million a year.
“But, at the same time, the bosses can find £700,000 to spend on three management roles and engage consultants KPMG for advice on the financial situation, even when the trust is in financial special measures.
“How many badly-needed NHS frontline staff dealing with direct patient care would this princely sum have paid for?
“Instead of tackling the vital issues, such as understaffing in the wards at the hospitals and excessive use of agency staff identified in the CQC report, we have a petty HR regime, masterminded by the HR department, that seems more concerned about the colour of socks employees wear than dealing with staff grievances and concerns raised in relation to patient safety and frontline staff shortages.
“The staff side unions have passed a motion of ‘no confidence’ in the trust’s board, as we fear patient safety could be jeopardised.
“NHS Improvement and the Care Quality Commission have already inspected the trust’s services in April this year finding four key areas of care at the trust requiring improvement, but we feel that a second visit by these two organisations needs to happen for a more in-depth probe into the conduct of the trust.”
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065.

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.