Liverpool Community Health Trust has appointed an interim director of nursing following the departure of its most senior nurse.
The troubled trust revealed it had brought in Jill Byrne, director of nursing at Aintree University Hospital Foundation Trust, after Helen Lockett left the trust last month.
Ms Lockett, who had a dual role as the trust’s executive nurse and director of operations, stood down in April after three years in the job.
Her departure was announced at the same time as that of the trust’s chief executive Bernie Cuthel, who left by mutual agreement in the wake of a critical inspection report and warning notice from the Care Quality Commission in January.
However, a trust spokesman stressed Ms Lockett’s decision to leave was in no way related to the Care Quality Commission report or problems faced by the trust.
“Helen was with us for three years in the dual role as director of operations and executive nurse but made a decision to return back to her family in the south west in March/April,” he said.
Ms Lockett had commuted from her home in Bristol to Liverpool. “She made the decision based on her individual circumstances,” added the spokesman.
Ms Lockett’s dual role has been split for the time being with Ms Byrne taking on the job of interim director of nursing alongside the appointment of a separate interim director of operations.
Ms Byrne, whose nursing career spans 34 years, has been director of nursing at Aintree since June 2008.
Other previous roles include director of nursing at Stockport Foundation Trust and assistant chief executive at St Helens and Knowsley Hospital Trust.
She will join interim chief executive Sue Page in ongoing efforts to turn around the fortunes of Liverpool Community Health, which the CQC found had failed to meet standards on patient care and welfare, safe use of equipment, staffing levels, support for staff and quality assurance.
Inspectors highlighted a “significant shortage” of district nurses and a lack of experienced staff to support the needs of patients, and said the skill mix of staff was “poor”.
They also flagged up negative comments from staff, who reported feeling stressed and under pressure.
“In excess of 15 negative comments prior, during and after the inspection about the unsupportive, oppressive culture did not assure us that the provider was able to support staff to deliver care to an appropriate standard,” said the report.
However, it also highlighted recent efforts to improve staff engagement, address staffing issues and boost support.
The trust’s core services include district nursing, community matrons, school nurses and sexual health services. It also provides a range of specialist services including a Family Nurse Partnership scheme.