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All student nurses withdrawn from Lincolnshire hospital amid CQC concerns

The Nursing and Midwifery Council has withdrawn 100 student nurses from a hospital in Lincolnshire after the Care Quality Commission raised “serious concerns” about the learning environment.

The announcement, about the Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, came this afternoon, after students were told yesterday.

An NMC statement said: “Following serious concerns that have formally been raised with the NMC we have asked the University of Lincoln, the University of Nottingham and the Open University to withdraw around 100 nursing and midwifery students with immediate effect.

“We are working with the universities to review the suitability of the learning environment at Pilgrim Hospital to support all students affected at this time.”

However the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Pilgrim, said it was now “seeking further clarification from the NMC” about why the action had been taken.

A spokeswoman emphasised that the hospital’s capacity to deliver safe services was “not reliant” on student nurses and midwives, and emphasised that the trust’s first priority would be patient care.

It is the first time that the NMC has removed all students from a hospital. It is understood that concerns were raised by the CQC, which has as memorandum of understanding with the NMC agreeing to share any concerns in the interest of patient safety.

Many of the students affected will be in the middle of their placements, and the NMC will be working with their universities to move them to new sites as soon as possible.

It is not yet clear how long students will not be able to undertake placements at the Pilgrim, as this will depend on the NMC’s review, which began today.

The CQC announced in June that it would be conducting its own review into the hospital, following a damning inspection report.

The regulator had ordered the trust to make improvements after an inspection in February. However, in June it voiced dissatisfaction with the progress the trust had made, and was dissatisfied with its ability to identify and address problems.

The CQC is also working with the police and local authority over “several” safeguarding investigations currently underway, relating to allegations of abuse and neglect at the trust.

A Unison spokeswoman said the union, which represents many of those involved, will be urgently seeking meetings with the NMC to secure alternative placements for the students, and at a local level with the trust to ensure standards of patient care are upheld.

Readers' comments (13)

  • Without wishing to prejudge any reasons for investigations in which the police are involved, it is perhaps a good idea to distance these students from the seemingly serious conditions and situations which are beyond their remit.

    That said, it is to be hoped that problems within the learning environment beyond the student's control will not impact nor reflect unfairly on their level of training.

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  • When situations like these arise, it is always a question, is nursing a profession?
    Why was this environment for students not assessed(as is foremost in nursing) before the Universities allowed for their study(placements) to take place?

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  • if the issues are as serious as this it seems that the hospital should be closed to safeguard the patients!

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  • @ anonymous 0835 1st Aug.

    Well that would really be helpful wouldn't it?
    Removing students is a powerful message that things are not right and is a good proportional response that underlines to everyone there that things need to change very very quickly. I no longer work clinically and a lot of the work that I do is related to ensuring that our standards are such as to satisfy the CQC/NHSLA requirements, and if I worked in Boston right now I would be deeply ashamed and be doing my damndest to sort things out.

    Closing the hospital is not the answer in the short term, a short sharp shock like this should galvanise the leaders and if it doesn't then perhaps new leaders should be appointed.

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  • @ anonymous 0831 1st Aug.

    You are of course making an assumption that the Universities even bothered to check in the first place? Do you seriously think that it is only in the last twelve months (with the setting of tuition fees) that Universities have been at least equally as concerned about money as education?

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  • Anonymous | 1-Aug-2011 9:04 am

    too many chiefs and not enough Indians!

    focusing on the care and safety of patients is more important than endeavoring to satisfy any other organisations' requirements such as the current CQC/NHSLA which sounds like trying to catch a rainbow. where do priorities really lie? it seems in administration, paper pushing, meeting targets and collecting pay packets.

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  • Anonymous 1-Aug-2011 9:4 am

    Agree too many chiefs not enough indians

    Quality indicators, audits, targets - less paperwork equals more patient care. We need more nurses to do nursing care. It is not nurses failing we know what to do but don't have the time to do it. Failing to meet student needs - again not enough time or nurses on wards were patient dependancy is high. We need managers on the wards with us and the patients not looking at computer screens sending out endless emails usually giving negative feedback.

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  • As far as I know there is just one police investigation in this hospital. They haven't closed or removed students from Stepping Hill, as far as I know...and as for the the severity of the investigation, there is no comparison, not that I am condoning the behabiour under investigation at the Pilgrim, not at all.

    There are inconsistances in the staff/patient ratio at this hospital compared with others in the same Trust. Just in case anyone is wondering, I work within this Trust, but not at the Pilgrim. I feel sorry for all the staff that work their fingers to the bone.

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  • To those who have proclaimed "Too many Chiefs and not enough Indians" should be careful what they wish for - particularly in the current climate where at the frontline Chiefs are RNs and Indians are HCAs.

    Good job you posted anonymously too, because the local Equality & Diversity Officer would have been all over you for that ethnic reference ;)

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  • Anonymous | 3-Aug-2011 12:05 pm

    the 'Queen Bees and Workers' I was referring to above are the administrators and the front line professional staff respectively.

    However, since you mention it, I do not believe a higher ratio of RNs to HCAs would be detrimental to patient care although I believe in the important role of both and for which I have the greatest respect (but this does not extend as far as many of the non clinical bosses and administrators who often believe they know best how care should be managed and delivered).

    Do you think the Equality & Diversity Officer could go after someone for using a well known and frequently used idiom? If so we need to make further modifications and reductions to the richness of the English language!

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  • In answer to the question , why send students there in the first place , it's because no one really wants us ! and so because the unis are desperate for placements we get shoved wherever. or so it feels !

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  • Adedapo Haastrup

    Thats the problem we are about to and will continue have with the new safe-guarding vulnerable Adults scheme. This is due to the fact that every Tom ,Dick and Harry will be give access to report people .Regardless of the fact that these claims ,allegations or suspicions are genuine ,true, or not.I personally opine that only a certain few are afforded the priviledge of reporting such incidents to The Nursing and Midwifery Council.Some Newly qualified staff and student Nurses are way to incompetent and inexperienced enough to report their seniors.Some, not fully aware of the extent of work load involved being and working as Nurses ,get so bitter and growchy that they whistle-blow unecessarily.Reporting their collegues to the third party suh as the C.Q.C. The Nmc and the Safeguarding Bodies without first communicating amongst their colleagues and resolving as well as addressing issues as a team before such issues escalates.I personally think Nurses can solve a lot of problems within themselves if thy worked as a team more and communicate more just like our allied professionals The Medical Doctors do.

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  • @ Anonymous 3-Aug-2011 12:48 pm

    I used to think like you do and made the broad assumption that administrators sat around drinking tea and making work. Funnily enough my job is actually to reduce the administrative burden on the clinical team but balance that with reduced risk factors to patient care. The work that I (yes me - I don't have an army of admin staff) do not only ensures that our staff are able to access the training in order to deliver the highest standards of safe and efficient care, but also drive down the costs of the Trust by reduced contributions to the clinical negligence funds. Safer care delivered by a knowledgeable and up to date work force sadly does not just happen.

    Be honest, how much of your mandatory training for example is completely up to date? How about the rest of your team?

    Admin support / Managment leading is a necessary evil. There is no doubt that some people in there lack insight into clinical issues, but there are also many who do. Don't tar all of us with the same brush - I'm certain that they do not do the same to clinical staff.

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