Anonymous letter sent to NHS bosses with concerns about 'staffing changes' at The Harbour mental health hospital in Marton

The Harbour in Preston New Road, Marton
The Harbour in Preston New Road, Marton
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An anonymous letter voicing “concerns about The Harbour”, the mental health hospital in Marton, was sent to several bosses at the NHS trust that runs it.

Directors at the under-fire trust were told the same note was received by the chairman David Eva, chief executive Professor Heather Tierney-Moore, and medical director Professor Max Marshall.

The exact content of the letter was not divulged in a report that went before a meeting earlier this month, but it related to concerns about changes to staffing, specifically staff rotation and the timing of it, The Gazette has learned.

As a result, the trust’s director of nursing and quality, Paul Lumsdon, “visited wards ... and communication was sent to staff including details of a follow-up visit,” the report said.

And a spokeswoman said: “The concerns raised by staff related to an operational change and the way it had been implemented.

“The director of nursing and quality subsequently visited The Harbour and held focus groups with staff to listen to their concerns in more detail and to talk about how any future changes should be done differently.”

Last week, resort councillors said a lack of staff, beds, and cash have left mental health services in Lancashire “in chaos.”

Members of Blackpool Council’s health scrutiny committee criticised an improvement plan drawn up by Lancashire Care on the back of a damning inspection report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The report, published in May, gave the trust a “requires improvement” rating and found nine breaches of legal requirements.

It comes during a troubling time for the £40 million unit, which has been dogged by problems and controversy since opening in March 2015, starting just months later when staff shortages forced the closure of a key ward.
In July 2016, an inquest ruled failings at the flagship facility contributed to the death of 20-year-old Sally Hickling, who died from brain damage after being discovered with ligatures around her neck.
Last November, it was reported how a patient being transferred from The Harbour, 39-year-old Tracey Lynch, was sectioned after causing a serious crash on the M55 motorway, but was released without being assessed and went on to kill herself.
And last week, The Gazette revealed how Blackpool coroner Alan Wilson wrote to bosses at Lancashire Care with concerns about record keeping following the suicide of Adam Carter.

The 36-year-old, from Thornton Gate in Cleveleys, fell from the fifth floor of the Talbot Road multi-storey car park last September, after running off during an escorted trip from The Harbour.
The damning report by the health watchdog CQC concluded Lancashire's mental health services were 'not safe, not effective, and not well-led' in May.
Most recently, Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden said he would be raising a "highly worrying series of failings" with health secretary Matt Hancock.

Mr Marsden spoke out after members of Blackpool Council's adult social care and health scrutiny committee questioned Dr Leon LeRoux, clinical director at Lancashire Care, about the way mental health services are being run.

A lack of resources, including staff shortages and not enough beds, was blamed for the problems which led to the CQC giving Lancashire Care a ‘must improve’ rating.

A Lancashire Care spokesman previously said: “An improvement plan has been developed to address some of the fundamental issues in the delivery of mental health services and part of this involves looking at how we can increase capacity within services to respond to current demand."