East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust
Made foundation April 2003
Region served East Lancashire, England
Type NHS Trust (Acute)
  • 971
  • 632 (Royal Blackburn Hospital)
  • 291 (Burnley General Hospital and Pendle Community Hospital)
  • 48 (Accrington Victoria Hospital and Clitheroe Community Hospital
Chief Exec Kevin McGee
Number of employees 7,000
Website www.elht.nhs.uk

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust is an NHS hospital trust in Lancashire, England. It was formed in April 2003, as the result of a locally controversial, cost saving merger of Blackburn Hyndburn & Ribble Valley (BHRV) NHS Trust and Burnley Health Care NHS Trust, first announced in September 1999.[1]


The trust's two major bases are the Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital, and the Burnley General Teaching Hospital. The Trust's headquarters and the majority of management is based at the Royal Blackburn Hospital, the larger of the two. The trust manages three further hospitals:

  • Accrington Victoria Hospital
  • Clitheroe Community Hospital
  • Pendle Community Hospital

Blackburn Royal Infirmary was shut in July 2006 as part of a merger of Blackburn's two sites, planned before the trust was formed. Rossendale General, was shut down over a period dating from 2006, finally closing in September 2010.[2]


The Trust operates the following departments:[3]

The trust installed a da Vinci Surgical System at the Royal Blackburn Hospital in June 2015, against the advice of NHS England, whose advice is that “A proliferation of centres offering robotic surgery should be avoided until a national policy can be developed.” Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust consider themselves to be the leading provider of prostatectomies within the region, but the trust plans to challenge this. The Robotic Prostatectomy service has subsequently proven to be both popular and effective for patients of East Lancashire and across the Northwest. [4] The robot has gone on to be used for other procedures with similar success.

Emergency services[edit]

The Trust closed the Accident and Emergency department at Burnley General Hospital in November 2007, replacing the department with an Urgent Care Centre, to treat less serious cases, with more serious cases would have to travel (by ambulance) to the Emergency Department at the Royal Blackburn Hospital.[5]

This has enabled the Emergency Department at Royal Blackburn to concentrate on the more serious cases from across the Trust, for which it is better equipped, with emergency theatres and an Intensive Care Unit. Following this move, a helipad was constructed several metres from the entrance to the Emergency Department at Blackburn, so some critically ill/injured patients could be airlifted to the department by the North West Air Ambulance.

As is common in these situations, the decision was deeply unpopular with the public of the Burnley and Pendle districts, who were most affected by the change.[6] A campaign to save/return the A&E service was a central issue in local politics. Both the district's current MPs were elected in 2010 on a platform of support for the campaign.[7]

In December 2011, Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle claimed a partial victory, with news of a new £12m emergency unit.[8] The new Burnley Urgent Care Centre opened in 2014. The trust has confirmed there will be no return of a full accident and emergency department to Burnley.[9]

Hospital refurbishment[edit]

Original Workhouse now the Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital Learning Centre and Park View Offices

The trust inherited two PFI construction projects from its predecessors, both planned in the 1990s. The Blackburn Royal Infirmary (BRI), was decommissioned in July 2006, after a new hospital building was built at the existing Queens Park Hospital (QPH) site in the town, formerly a Workhouse,[10] so to merge the two sites into a single hospital for Blackburn, which had been planned since September 1996.[11] Construction of the Royal Blackburn Hospital began in July 2003, with it being completed three years later.

This meant the moving of many departments, and much publicity was made about the moving of the Accident & Emergency department, so to avoid public confusion of the exact time when the A&E at BRI shut, and the ED at the newly merged Royal Blackburn Hospital site opened. In Burnley, a smaller scheme known as Phase 5 was underway, intended to provide improved care of the elderly, and dermatology facilities.[12]

Also, much consolidation has come into effect since the merging of the two original trusts. This has involved the closure of many wards and departments at the Burnley General Hospital, with much speculation of the site's belittlement. Despite this, a new building was completed in May 2006 (known as Phase 5). The trust continues to make major investments on the Burnley site, with £32 million development of the Lancashire Women & Newborn Centre and £0.3M fitting ventilation systems in two operating theatres, to undertake additional orthopaedic surgery.[13] The 46 bedded Lancashire Elective Centre was opened in December 2017 following £18m investment.

Shuttle buses[edit]

Since the consolidation of many departments, patients have recently been required to attend clinics at a different site from their local hospital. Also, staff frequently move between the Blackburn and Burnley hospitals to go about their work. Because of this, a free shuttle bus has been introduced between sites, [14] using the M65 to quickly shuttle between both hospitals. The service runs from 6.15am until 9.30pm.

Foundation Trust application[edit]

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust has been attempting to become an NHS Foundation Trust since 2007. Becoming an FT was an important development for the Trust and to survive into the future, the organisation was required to complete a successful application before April 2013, but like many NHS Trusts it failed to meet this deadline.

The chief executive, Mark Brearley, announced he was resigning with immediate effect in December 2013.[15]

Quality of care[edit]

In October 2013, as a result of the Keogh Review the Trust was put into the highest risk category by the Care Quality Commission.[16] It was put into special measures and there were calls for resignations. Concerns centred on the Trust's policy of opening extra beds, or leaving patients on chairs and trolleys, to deal with surges in demand.[17] It was put into a buddying arrangement with Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust.[18]

In December 2013, it became clear that stroke services at the Royal Blackburn Hospital were under threat. The service, which has dealt with 759 patients in the last twelve months, has missed a key performance target every month this year for 90% of stroke patients to be admitted to a specialist ward within four hours of arrival. This was achieved in just 47 per cent of cases between April and September this year.[19]

Of all the providers of specialised services in England, the trust was least compliant with the quality standards set for them by leading clinicians in October 2014.[20]

In January 2017, the Trust was rated 'Good' by the Care Quality Commission following significant improvement.

Four-hour target in the emergency department quarterly figures from NHS England Data from https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/ae-waiting-times-and-activity/

In March 2018 it was the eighth worst performer in A%E in England, with only 61% of patients in the main A&E seen within 4 hours. [21]

Clinical education[edit]

The trust recently began accepting small numbers of medical students for components of their clinical training. All students allocated to Royal Blackburn Hospital are based either at Royal Preston Hospital or Salford Royal Hospital in Greater Manchester.

The Postgraduate Medical & Dental Education website has further information on Foundation and Specialty Training in East Lancashire.


It was named by the Health Service Journal as one of the top hundred NHS trusts to work for in July 2015.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ This is Lancashire Archive Accessed 2010
  2. ^ Lancashire Telegraph Accessed 2010
  3. ^ East Lancashire Hospitals: Departments
  4. ^ "Robot wars in Lancashire as trusts compete to be specialist site". Health Service Journal. 29 June 2015. Retrieved 29 June 2015. 
  5. ^ Putting Healthcare First in East Lancashire
  6. ^ "Anger at shock decision on A&E". Lancashire Telegraph. 22 December 2006. Retrieved 5 July 2012. 
  7. ^ "Andrew Stephenson Member of Parliament for Pendle". Conservative Party. Retrieved 5 July 2012. 
  8. ^ "New £12million emergency unit planned for Burnley General Hospital". Lancashire Telegraph. 22 December 2011. Retrieved 5 July 2012. 
  9. ^ "MP 'misled' public over future of Burnley General Hospital". Burnley Express. 24 February 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2012. 
  10. ^ "The Workhouse in Blackburn, Lancashire". Retrieved 17 June 2017. 
  11. ^ "Infirmary may close in 10 years". Lancashire Telegraph. 4 September 1996. Retrieved 5 July 2012. 
  12. ^ "Trust unveils hospital schemes costing £15m". Lancashire Telegraph. 29 August 1996. Retrieved 5 July 2012. 
  13. ^ "Burnley General Hospital £300k operating theatres boost". Lancashire Telegraph. 18 November 2011. Retrieved 5 July 2012. 
  14. ^ East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust: Shuttle Bus
  15. ^ "Keogh review trust's chief resigns". Health Service Journal. 11 December 2013. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  16. ^ "NHS Trusts put in risk categories - full list". Independent. 24 October 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  17. ^ "East Lancs hospital boss: I won't quit". Lancashire Telegraph. 17 October 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  18. ^ "'Buddy' trusts could double their money under bonus scheme". Health Service Journal. 23 July 2013. Retrieved 17 September 2014. 
  19. ^ "Battle to keep stroke unit in Blackburn". Lancashire Telegraph. 26 December 2013. Retrieved 29 December 2013. 
  20. ^ "Specialised services failing to make the grade". Health Service Journal. 15 October 2014. Retrieved 31 October 2014. 
  21. ^ "Trusts' A&E performance goes sub 50 per cent as NHS hits new low". Health Service Journal. 12 April 2018. Retrieved 13 April 2018. 
  22. ^ "HSJ reveals the best places to work in 2015". Health Service Journal. 7 July 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2015.