University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay last week recruited a former nurse as chief executive, as it revealed it was facing more than 30 compensation claims over its troubled Furness maternity service.
The trust announced last week that Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust chief executive Jackie Daniel would move to Morecambe Bay from August.
Ms Daniel – who began her NHS career as a nurse, then ward sister – is credited with a strong record of turning around struggling trusts. She said she had “direct experience of the sorts of challenges faced by the trust” and was confident she could drive it “forward to a successful future”.
Morecambe Bay has been without a permanent chief since February, when previous post holder Tony Halsall stepped down following spiralling revelations of poor care at the trust.
These began last summer, after an inquest into the death of a baby born at UHMB’s Furness General Hospital.
Even as the trust announced its new boss, it was informing the baby’s father, James Titcombe, that over the past decade there had been 37 civil actions initiated against the trust relating to the Furness maternity unit.
Among the compensation claims – revealed to Mr Titcome under freedom of information law – were nine relating to the deaths of children, one to a maternal death, and another relating to the deaths of a mother and child.
Morecambe Bay interim chief executive Eric Morton, who will be replaced by Ms Daniel, said the claims related to incidents dating from 1996 to 2011.
“We have badly let down women and their families with our maternity services in the past and are extremely sorry for that,” he added.
But, “so far there have been no claims instigated due to incidents in maternity services that happened in 2012”.
The trust’s new board, he added, was committed to providing “excellent care that is up there with the best”.
The revelations came days after the CQC published yet another damning report on Morecambe Bay, focussed on emergency care. It found understaffing, people waiting too long to be seen, inadequate patient monitoring, unnecessarily delayed discharges and patients in unsuitable wards.
UHMB chairman Sir David Henshaw said significant progress had been made since the time of the probe.