A foundation trust has suspended its nursing director after launching an investigation into allegations of ‘irregularities’ in its accident and emergency waiting times figures.
Wirral University Teaching Hospital foundation trust has confirmed two suspensions over the allegations relating to the trust’s Arrowe Park Hospital, although it would not confirm their names as nursing director Michael Monaghan and department manager Maria Jeffery.
Chief executive Len Richards said: ‘We recognise we are dealing with serious allegations and we are determined to get to the bottom of them as quickly as possible.
‘In the meantime, we have taken steps to ensure the accuracy of the reporting of performance against national A&E waiting time standards. Validation of data is currently being undertaken by another department in our trust.
‘We are also supporting the continued provision of excellent care by the staff in A&E. Five senior clinical managers have been seconded on a rota basis to support A&E staff in ensuring patients are seen as quickly as possible, while still receiving the highest standards of care.’
He said the individuals were suspended “without prejudice”, which is “a neutral act that facilitates an investigation and does not imply any wrongdoing”.
The trust said: ‘The investigation began at the beginning of July immediately after concerns were raised from within the organisation.’
The government requires at least 98 per cent of patients to wait less than four hours in accident and emergency. Wirral’s performance in 2008-09 was 98 per cent, in 2007-08 it was 98.2 per cent.
The trust has not confirmed the names of the individuals.
A spokeswoman for Monitor, which regulates foundation trusts, said: “Monitor has been made aware by the trust that they are investigating possible issues with data validation relating to performance against the four hour A&E waiting time target.
‘We will be monitoring the progress of this investigation closely, and will await the outcome before taking any decision on regulatory action.’