Health Policy

CQC issues warning notice to North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust

By - Integrated Care Journal

CQC issues warning notice to North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has informed North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust (NCIC) that it must make immediate improvements to keep people safe following inspections in August and September.

CQC inspected the Trust to assess the safety and responsiveness of emergency and urgent care, medicine, end of life care and community adults’ services.

NCIC was brought to the attention of CQC when monitoring work revealed concerns about risks to patient and staff safety.

NCIC was formed in October 2019 as a result of the acquisition of North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust by Cumbria Partnership Foundation Trust. As this was a focused inspection, CQC did not inspect enough areas to change any ratings. Therefore, the previous overall rating of 'Requires Improvement' remains.

Following these inspections, the Trust was served with a warning notice for two locations, Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle and West Cumberland Hospital, Whitehaven.

Professor Ted Baker, Chief Inspector of Hospitals at CQC, commented: “There are blockages within the system in North Cumbria, especially when it comes to discharging people who no longer need acute care. The wider system in North Cumbria has a responsibility to work with the trust in this area, as they cannot solve this problem alone."

The warning notice requires the Trust to take action to minimise the risk of patients being exposed to harm as:  

  • Patients in the emergency department and in ward areas at Cumberland Infirmary were not always receiving timely and appropriate care and treatment
  • Delayed transfers of care regarding patients admitted from the emergency department has resulted in significant delays in admitting patients onto wards
  • There was evidence of insufficient numbers of suitably qualified, skilled, competent and experienced clinical staff to meet the needs of patients
  • There was not an effective system to mitigate risks, including infection and prevention control in the emergency department escalation areas and on some medical wards

A full report detailing the findings from CQC’s focused inspection can be found at