Charing Cross Hospital outpatients judged “inadequate” – as was St Mary’s A&E

The chief inspector of hospitals has recently reported on local hospitals Care Quality Commission. The report on Queen Charlotte’s in Du Cane Road concludes it is “good”.

However Hammersmith Hospital, Charing Cross and St Mary’s Paddington are each given the verdict “requires improvement”.

Within those overall judgments there are some wide variations. For instance the A&E at Charing Cross was rated “good” while the Oupatients service was judged “inadequate”.

For St Mary’s the Critical Care and Maternity and gynaecology were both rated “good” but the A&E “inadequate.”

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust chief executive Dr Tracey Batten said:

“While we are disappointed with our overall rating of ‘requires improvement’, we think the report is extremely constructive. It clearly sets out our challenges while also recognising the positive impact of our work over the past year and highlighting the great care that we already provide.

“We acknowledge that there are a few areas, such as cleanliness in St Mary’s A&E, that have simply not been acceptable and there can be no excuse for that. But we want to assure patients that this is the exception and that we have acted immediately to address the most pressing issues raised. For example, we have already put in extra staff support and refurbished the A&E at St Mary’s Hospital – with new flooring and lighting, more sinks and additional cleaning rotas. The CQC has now re-inspected St Mary’s A&E and has confirmed that the required improvements have been made.”

The Labour MP for Hammersmith Andrew Slaughter highlighted the contrasting verdicts on the A&E departments and saying it showed plans to close the A&E at Charing Cross are wrong. The problem with this point is that there are no such plan. The NHS have made clear that there will continue to be a full A&E department at Charing Cross. Mr Slaughter is full aware of this yet he persists with spreading the allegation. That makes him a liar.

But there is another point. The good news is that the local NHS failings have been exposed, detailed recommendations published to put them right and those measures are being taken – or indeed have already been taken.

How has this come about? How do we know what is going on? It is because this Government introduced this level of transparency. They introduced the post of Chief Inspector of Hospitals to act as whistleblower-in-chief and produce these reports. That came about after the scandal at Mid Staffs Hospital – when the mentality was one of “cover up” rather than facing up to problems and dealing with them. Disgracefully poor care continued for years because of a lack of transparency and accountability. That was the way the NHS was run when Andy Burnham was Health Secretary.

Andrew Slaughter voted against the legislation last year to establish a chief inspector of hospitals who could provide independent information about the quality of services. Now he is quoting from information that would have been suppressed had he won that vote. He should apologise for that desist from his scaremongering. No matter how frequently he repeats it that doesn’t make the lie about the Charing Cross A&E closing true.

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