Morecambe Bay Trust's emergency care investigated

Furness General Hospital The CQC said it was investigating emergency care at all four of the trust's hospitals

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The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has said it is investigating emergency care at a Lancashire hospital trust.

The CQC is looking at care at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, but said there was no immediate threat to patients.

The investigation follows CQC reports in July and December 2011 which highlighted concerns over maternity and emergency care.

Trust chief executive Tony Halsall said the CQC inquiry was "not surprising".

The trust, which manages four hospitals in Lancashire and Cumbria, is already being investigated over the deaths of babies at Furness General Hospital and was criticised in 2011 for delays in emergency treatment at Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

The CQC said it would not include maternity services in its investigation as the trust was already "taking steps" to address concerns in that area.

Reassurance hope

The CQC's North West regional lead, Debbie Westhead, said the commission would "take an in-depth look at the care patients receive as they enter the hospitals for emergency care and at what happens to them subsequently".

She said of the investigation: "It should reassure local people that we are aware of problems in the trust and are seeking more information to help the trust take the correct action to mitigate risks to patients."

Mr Halsall said the trust was "committed to providing the best possible patient care in our hospitals and we will work openly with the CQC to help them carry out their investigation and implement any actions they identify".

"The trust is dealing with a number of important issues at the moment, so it is not surprising that we are coming under additional scrutiny.

"We hope this investigation will help to reassure anyone with concerns about emergency services in our hospitals."

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