Saturday, October 13, 2007

Enough is Enough

So the story is finally made public. The infection control failings of the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Hospital Trust have resulted in 90 headline deaths.

Rose Gibb, former Chief Executive has gone, although at the time of writing, the Secretary of State has intervened to suspend up to £400,000 of taxpayers' money for Ms Gibb's "settlement". Her role has now been taken over by Glenn Douglas.

There are several issues here. This first must be that Ms Gibb is not the only one to be responsible for this issue, and we as the public must be confident that no other senior staff implicated in this fiasco should have any connection with the new Pembury Hospital. Though I understand that at least one person has moved to the new PFI Board. This cannot be right, and must be addressed without delay.

And if Glenn Douglas is to be given a fair chance of resolving these horrendous issues, surely his position in Surrey must be taken over by someone else, rather than simply "adding" the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells job to his existing role? What does this move say to the families of those who have died about the importance of resolving this issue?

There has to be an issue also with regulation. If this issue had occurred within a residential care home, it would have been picked up by CSCI (the Commission for Social Care Inspection). An action plan would have been prescribed, and if that action was not taken in full, the operating licence could have been revoked without delay. Yet these issues can run on unchecked for years in our hospitals without any such action. When will government wake up to the implications of their actions - or lack of them?

I see from yesterday's press release that the Trust claims its actions on infection control has reduced risks by 36%, and that they're "sorry".

Does this means we can expect more fatalities, but just 36% fewer?

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