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Unions say NHS trust’s management is jeopardising patient safety

They claim senior team focus more on staff’s hair and sock colour than under-staffing

They claim senior team focus more on staff’s hair and sock colour than under-staffing


Lincoln County Hospital is one of four hospitals run by United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust.
Picture: Alamy

Unions have passed a vote of no confidence in the senior management of an NHS trust, following concerns over patient safety.

Unite, alongside seven other unions including the RCN, passed the vote at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which is currently in special measures.

The unions cited concerns that under-staffing on some wards was jeopardising patient safety at the trust, which runs Lincoln County Hospital, Grantham and District Hospital, Pilgrim Hospital in Boston and County Hospital in Louth.

Unite and the RCN claim that instead of tackling under-staffing, the trust’s senior management has chosen to focus on trivial issues. 

Questioning staff

RCN operational manager for the East Midlands David Kirwan said: ‘We know of instances where nursing staff have been challenged by managers about something so petty as their hair colour, for example.

‘It’s as if there aren’t any significant issues to resolve to relieve staffing pressures and ensure consistently good standards of care for patients – when there clearly are.’

Unite regional officer Steve Syson said: ‘We have a petty HR regime... more concerned about the colour of socks employees wear than dealing with staff grievances.’

A trust spokesperson declined to comment on its uniform policy.

The trust was given a ‘requires improvement’ rating following an inspection by NHS Improvement and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) earlier this year. 

Unite has called on regulators to pay a second visit to the trust for a more in-depth investigation.

Trust reaction

The trust’s director of human resources and organisational development Martin Rayson said he was disappointed in the unions’ action, insisting that patient safety was the trust’s priority.

He added that the organisation had made significant improvements in recent years, and that he was confident the trust was on track to come out of special measures.

Offering support

NHS Improvement, which oversees trusts, said: ‘We will continue to support the board at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust in the significant challenges they face to deliver acute hospital care in Lincolnshire.’

A CQC spokesperson said the findings of an unannounced inspection of Pilgrim Hospital would be published shortly.


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