‘Not another Mid Staffordshire’: Manchester MP defends Tameside Hospital but calls for chief to resign

By Jeremy Culley & Jon Robinson

Under-fire Tameside Hospital has been defended by a Manchester MP in the wake of a damming death rate report, although he insists a ‘fresh approach’ is needed from above.

Denton and Reddish MP Andrew Gwynne admits the report’s findings are ‘very serious’ but urged that Tameside is not another mid-Staffordshire.

The hospital is to be investigated after shockingly high mortality rates over the last two years were exposed yesterday’s Francis Report into avoidable deaths.

Mr Gwynne said: “I am not in the business of running my local hospital down.  

“I know from my own constituency casework that there are people who have been let down by Tameside Hospital.

“Most people using Tameside Hospital will only ever have experienced the best of care possible. But it would be incorrect to say that is a complete picture.”

Tameside is one of five hospitals named in the report alongside Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust.

Mr Gwynne added: “The current chief executive has presided over a series of crises over a number of years, and yet the issues at the hospital remain.

“I think we need a fresh approach to Tameside’s problems that will only come about with a new chief executive to provide a fresh viewpoint and new direction.”

He added: “I don’t think Tameside is another Mid Staffordshire, but there are fundamental issues that do need to be resolved.”

Sir Bruce Keogh, medical director at the NHS Commissioning Board, will be leading the investigation into Tameside Hospital, singled out for having mortality rates among the country’s worst for two successive years.

Christine Green, Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Chief Executive, welcomed the move towards an immediate investigation.

She said: “The Trust looks forward to receiving Sir Bruce Keogh and, or his team into the hospital.”

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) urged the hospital to make improvements in care provision, treatment, support and meeting patient’s needs in their latest report.

In it, they said: “People are not protected from the risks of unsafe or inappropriate care and treatment.

“People transferred to sit-out and escalation areas of the trust are not always monitored during and after transition. We were told ‘staff ignore you if you are in this bay’ and ‘I think you get forgotten here’.”

Another shortcoming noted by the inspectors was confusion over moving patients from ward to ward.

“In one case we observed that a patient had been sent to the sit-out area from another department within the trust. Staff did not have any records or details for this patient,” the CQC report adds.

“In another case we were told a patient was transferred to a sit-out area from the medical assessment unit and had not been monitored for over five hours.

“There was not always clinical ownership or continuity of care treatment and support when escalation and sit-out areas were utilised.”

The hospital was formally warned by the CQC in January last year and threatened with fines and ward closures unless urgent improvements were made.

Then, in August, the hospital was criticised by a coroner for their inadequate care of 12-year-old Emma Stones, a girl admitted with flu-like symptoms.

She died 16 hours later from blood poisoning and was left lying dead in bed for so long that rigor mortis had set in.  

Image courtesy of WhiteRibbonUK, with thanks.

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