‘Heads should roll at hos­pi­tals’

Warn­ings were ig­nored, says for­mer gover­nor

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Damning Health Report - By Lowri Stafford

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.

Fears

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.

What do you think? Write to Ken­tish Ex­press, 34-36 North Street, Ash­ford, TN24 8JR or email ken­tish­ex­press@thek­m­group.co.uk

For­mer East Kent Hos­pi­tals Trust gover­nor Ken Rogers

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