The Kent and Canterbury Hospital

MP: Inspect our hospitals urgently

Canterbury and Whitstable MP Rosie Duffield has formally written to the chief inspector of hospitals to demand an urgent inspection of east Kent’s facilities after a string of safety incidents.

Last week the Canterbury Journal revealed how a recording system cock-up meant X-rays were not being properly checked by staff.

The Labour MP also pointed to concerns raised by a coroner following deaths caused by falls at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford and babies being infected by MRSA brought in by staff working at the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate.

In her letter to Prof Ted Baker, the chief inspector of hospitals, Ms Duffield said: “The common theme in these different cases, which have been reported in the last two months, but which cover longer periods of time and different services within the trust, is a sloppiness regarding the implementation of patient safety policies and a failure to put measures in place quickly when incidents occur.

Canterbury and Whitstable MP Rosie Duffield speaking in the House of Commons

“There is also a failure to record incidents, problems and risk assessments and my own work as an MP has convinced me that systems holding patient data in the Trust are in some cases inflexible, inaccurate and confused, and top management unresponsive when questions are raised.”

Prof Baker is part of the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which acts as the national watchdog on health and health-related services.

Ms Duffield says it is “essential” that the safety breaches are followed up since she believes the east Kent hospitals trust is not learning from mistakes.

She went on: “The East Kent trust is failing to keep to national standards on waiting list times, most cancer waits, and speed of being seen in A&E.

“In addition, it is £30m in deficit at the end of the recently closed financial year, the local CCGs [clinical commissioning groups] are massively in deficit, and waiting lists for elective surgery are both growing fast and are well beyond the 18-week benchmark set by NHS England.

“East Kent is the sixth worst performing hospital in the country according to official figures.

“It is plainly time that the trust was inspected again and urgent action taken to remedy what seems to be a failing patient safety culture.”

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