East Lancashire Hospitals have been placed in special measures due to higher than average death rates and concerns about quality across key areas.
The hospitals, including Accrington Victoria, Burnley and Blackburn, are run by East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust which is among 11 trusts nationwide told to make urgent improvements in the Keogh Review published on Tuesday.
Areas identified as needing 'high priority action' include governance and leadership, local capacity, clinical and operational effectiveness, patient experience, workforce and safety and nursing.
In the report the Trust was criticised for inadequate staffing levels and weekends and for some staff 'talking down' to patients and their families when they voiced concerns.
Patients concerns included a lack of clear responses to important questions, treatment of cancer patients and staff being too busy to answer patient call bells.
The report said: “A recurring theme from the patient listening events was poor communication, with complaints being handled with indifference and without compassion. Examples of this included patients not being fully informed of potential complications in their care, relatives not being told a patient was transferred to another ward and poor communication to patients awaiting transfer from one site to another.”
Staff sickness rates were well above average well instances of hospital infection MRSA and pressure ulcers were also unusually high.
The Trust served a population of 521,000 and has 946 beds.
It was chosen for inclusion in the Keogh Review as its Summary Hospital Level Mortality Indicator (SMHI) was higher than expected two years in a row suggesting higher than normal death rates.
Mark Brearley, Chief Executive at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said they welcomed the findings of the report and recognised there were areas that needed to be addressed.
He added: "We have robust plans in place to address all the issues, we will ensure that everyone within the organisation from the Board to frontline staff are committed to carrying them out.
"This report strengthens our resolve to deliver zero tolerance of poor care, the report has identified areas of good practice and we intend to ensure that this is replicated across the organisation so that we can deliver the best care to all our patients."