Home Our Team Media Contact

East Lancashire

Patient Voice Group

Join the discussion


TEN out of 11 health targets for Blackburn with Darwen are currently being missed, clinical commissioners have been told.

And eight out of 11 of the same benchmarks in East Lancashire are also failing to meet targets, an NHS performance committee has been told.

A leading health campaigner says the results for Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire clinical commissioning groups are “disappointing”, amid concerns Brexit could also make it more difficult to recruit much-needed staff.

Like most months over the past two years, the four-hour waiting target for accident and emergency at the Royal Blackburn Hospital, which stands at 95 per cent of cases, has not been achieved, at 85.16 per cent across the board.

Clinical commissioners have been told that the closure of access facilities at Accrington Victoria Hospital in July 2018 had contributed to the problem.

Cervical screening rates, for both 25 to 49-year-olds and those aged 50 plus, within either the past three-and-a-half or five-and-a-half years respectively, have also not been met for either area.

Smoking levels among pregnant women, at the time of delivery, are above the national average.

NHS bosses expect 5.5 per cent of patients attempting to access psychological treatments to have achieved this by the fourth quarter of the year but both CCGs are lagging behind.

Eighteen-week waiting list targets for all patients are also a cause for concern.

The cancer treatment targets have produced mixed results – while both areas could say they had offered the first definitive treatment within one month of diagnosis, a two-month target had been missed.

While Blackburn with Darwen had just failed to offer appointments to 93 per cent of patients within two weeks of an urgent GP referral, East Lancs narrowly passed the test.

Russ McLean, chairman of East Lancashire Patients Voice, said: “These results are very disappointing but indicative of what is going on across the NHS. If you couple this with Brexit and uncertainty over the recruitment of nurses from Europe, then this is worrying.”

Officials from Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancs CCGs were unavailable for comment last night.


May I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Best wishes for the forthcoming New Year. On behalf of the Patient Voices Group, I would like to wish you and your loved Ones All the very Best for 2020. May you all enjoy Good Health.

Please remember to order enough prescription medication to last you through the Holiday season. If you need medical assistance when your GP surgery is closed, please CALL 111 from any Landline or Mobile (FREE CALL) and the operators will get you the help you need.

Thanks to all those Healthcare professionals who will give up their holiday to take care of us over Christmas and the New Year. You are all STARS!


MORE than 100 patients are being recalled for ultrasound scans after a safety blunder.

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust bosses are getting at least 118 scans redone after they were carried out by a trainee sonographer who was not being properly supervised.

The problem with the scans, carried out by a private contractor, came to light this week after the Lancashire Telegraph was tipped off by a concerned whistleblower.

Julie Iddon, associate medical director for quality and safety at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “A recent review of work undertaken by an external company that we use to support our ultrasound services identified that a number of ultrasound scans were performed by a trainee sonographer, without the appropriate level of senior professional supervision.

“This does not meet with our high imaging standards.

“Although it is very unlikely that any omissions or errors have been made, as a precaution we are in the process of recalling the patients affected for another scan with an experienced sonographer.

“We have undertaken a full investigation in order to understand exactly how this happened.

“We would like to express our sincere apologies for any inconvenience or concern caused to patients.”

The trust revealed the scans were carried out by an outsourced company under an NHS contract, and were carried out on the firm’s premises, not at an East Lancashire hospital or health centre.

However those who underwent scans are all NHS patients.

Sonography is a medical procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves, known as ultrasound, to produce images of organs, tissues or blood flow inside the body.

The email confirming an investigation was taking place, which was leaked to the Lancashire Telegraph, was sent out by Julie White, the clinical lead for ultrasound at the trust.

The email said: “At the end of September, it came to light that an outsourcing company used by the trust’s partner provider to support ultrasound services, has not delivered care to the standards we require.

“The trust is involved in the investigation of this serous event along with the Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Group, NHS England and the Health and Care Professions Council.

“As part of the process the current review has identified at least 118 patients who need to be recalled for rescan within November.

“As you can appreciate this will involve a lot of time and additional workload as we investigate the event and we would appreciate your support at this time.”

A Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Group spokesman said: “The CCG is aware of the investigation.

“It would not be appropriate for us to add anything.”

Cllr Damian Talbot, executive member for public health and wellbeing for Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “It is worrying that this kind of mistake has happened.

“I would hope the trust will be looking to improve their precautions in making sure those doing the procedures are qualified, so this type of incident does not happen again.

“These are important scans and they need to be right.

“They need to be right so mothers and families can make the appropriate plans.

Russ McLean, chairman of the Patients Voices group, said he would speak to the chief executive of the trust about this issue.

He said: “First of all this is very disturbing.

“We are living in an age where this should not be happening.”


PVG Chair Russ McLean in conversation with ELHT CEO Mr Kevin McGee



A DIY doctor company has promised to help people struggling to see their GP – but they will have to pay £39 for the privilege.

Medicspot plans to roll out the digital clinics in selected pharmacies next year, to help thousands of people who are waiting more than a month to see their GP across the county.

The new initiative allows doctors to listen to a patient’s heart and lungs, look into their ears and throat, and take their vitals including blood pressure, oxygen levels and body temperature – all without needing to be in the same room.

Medicspot is already available, in Audley Late Night Pharmacy in Blackburn, where patients can book online and pay £39 for a same-day GP consultation. .

The company plans to bring the service to more pharmacies across Lancashire early next year.

However, East Lancashire’s patients’ champion Russ McLean said he was saddened by the move and claimed that services were being ‘privatised by the back door’.

Mr McLean, chairman of the Pennine Lancashire Patient Voices Group, said: “I know the CCGs have said they’re expanding access to GPs on evening and weekends.

“This clearly isn’t working as patients can’t get appointments and are having to turn to companies like this instead.

“Government and commissioners need to invest in more GPs as what we’re seeing now is privatisation of services through the back door and private companies making money out of patients.”

“I’m quite saddened by this.”

But Dr Zubair Ahmed, Co-founder of Medicspot, said: “In light of these figures, we hope our service will offer a convenient alternative for people in Bedfordshire and help ease some of the pressures the NHS is facing.”

It comes after new data revealed that 13 per cent of people in Blackburn with Darwen are waiting longer than two weeks to get seen by a GP – with thousands waiting over a month for an appointment.

Recent NHS figures also suggest that 72 per cent of residents in the area were not offered a choice of time or date for their appointment, and six in ten did not get a same-day appointment with a GP.