‘Heads should roll at hospitals’
Warnings were ignored, says former governor
A former lead governor for the shamed east Kent hospitals trust says “heads should roll” after a damning report.
Long-standing health campaigner Ken Rogers quit the governing body last month after becoming enraged with the board’s failure to listen to staff and patients’ concerns.
This week, he said he was not surprised by the scathing review of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) into the William Harvey and east Kent’s two other acute hospitals, the Kent and Canterbury and Margate’s QEQM.
The CQC has called for the trust that runs them to be placed into special measures.
In a report published last week, the health watchdog was particularly critical of a “worrying disconnect” between trust directors and front-line staff, and a “longstanding culture of bullying and harassment” at the three hospital sites.
The bleak picture painted by CQC inspectors resonated with Mr Rogers, who witnessed the “ward to board” divide firsthand.
He said: “The staff are abso- lutely brilliant. Of course, there’s the odd hiccup, but what the CQC said about the management of the hospitals doesn’t surprise me at all.
“Patients should be coming first, but they’re not because the board just doesn’t listen. I think the CQC’s findings are serious enough to warrant heads to roll.”
Mr Rogers stepped down from the governing body over the board’s decision to close outpatient centres in Herne Bay and Faversham six weeks ago – despite a wave of protest from staff and patients.
He continued: “It just showed that they do not listen.
“It’s been obvious for quite some time that the management don’t listen to staff. I hope the governors are now able to be more forceful with the trust for the sake of patients.”
Governors are not involved in the running of the hospital, but they are responsible for holding non-executives to account for the performance of the board.
They are also expected to approve any significant transactions and represent the interests of trust members and public.
But Mr Rogers said governors were not made aware of plans to move the K&C Hospital to a new site across the city, and claimed they were not even told how damning the CQC report was until just before it was made public.
He also said governors previously raised fears about staff shortages and called for improvements, but claimed their concerns were not taken seriously.
He said: “There are some trusts in the country which are very How we reported the criticism of the health trust running the William Harvey, above, and two other hospitals
‘What was said about the management of the hospitals doesn’t surprise me at all’
open, honest and transparent. There are other trusts that still believe the governors are a necessary evil.”
While a patient at Kent and Canterbury Hospital himself, Mr Rogers said he spoke to doctors and nurses who said they had not seen a member of the senior management on the wards in a long time.
He is hopeful that the trust will be forced to make drastic improvements if the regulator Monitor agrees with the CQC’s recommendation to place it into special measures.
He added: “If it is left to the hospital, I don’t think much would change. But if it goes into special measures, the board of trustees will have to listen and react.”
Mr Rogers also thinks a change in management would have a positive impact on the way the trust is run.
The chief executive, Stuart Bain, is planning to resign in December for health reasons.
In its report, the CQC rated the K&C and William Harvey Hospital as “inadequate” and the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate as “requiring improvement”.
The east Kent hospitals trust was rated “inadequate” overall. The board of trustees is now waiting to hear whether it will be placed into special measures.
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Former East Kent Hospitals Trust governor Ken Rogers