The chairman of a hospital trust has resigned, accusing the NHS of putting targets ahead of patient safety and of not learning the lessons of the Mid Staffordshire scandal.
David Bowles, chairman of the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, has stepped down after his organisation refused to give an assurance to its strategic health authority that it will guarantee to meet the 18-week waiting target for treatment for all patients.
In a letter to the constituency MP Mark Simmonds, who is also a Conservative shadow health minister, explaining his resignation, Mr Bowles said there was so much pressure on his trust’s emergency departments that clinical decisions had been taken to prioritise emergency care. This had put the trust’s 18-week target at risk.
He said: ‘I refuse to work in a system that seems not to have learnt the lessons of Mid Staffordshire and to have lost sight of the critical issues of patient safety. A system that places unacceptable pressures on the trust, to give an unequivocal assurance that it will meet its 18 week non-emergency care target at a time of unprecedented levels of emergency demand.’