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Hospital chairman resigns over patient safety concerns

  • 5 Comments

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.’

  • 5 Comments

Readers' comments (5)

  • What a shame that no-one will take a blind bit of notice.

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  • This is all very confusing, the management of this trust usually put their targets before the needs of its patients. I have witness this; an elderly lady who was due for discharge later that day was awoken at 4am to be moved from an acute ward to a nurse led ward so a patient who had just been revived from cardiac arrest (but had then had the decision made should she suffer another (which was imminent due to not receiving active treatment ) she would not be resuscitated)could have her bed. The lady who had suffered the cardiac arrest current location was an admission ward in a side room and she was to be moved to the other ladys acute bed in a bay with three other women, all this to ensure A&E would not breach the 4 hour waiting time.

    The lady who had suffered the cardiac arrest was never moved to the bed (possibly due to the likely nature she had past away) but the other lady was moved.

    It horrifies me this goes on, if it had been my grandmother who had been woken at 4am to be moved to another ward I would be outraged. And if I was the relatives of the lady who was to be moved from a side room to a bay with 3 other patients I would have been distraught, especially if the lady had past away in the corridor.

    This trust is also in the process of applying for foundation status, big mistake if this granted in my opinion, mid staffs trust rings a bell (just not as bad; yet...).

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  • If we had more managers like David Bowles we would have a NHS to be proud of. I did not see this reported in the National media headlines. But then perhaps I missed it

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  • This is all very confusing, the management of this trust usually put their targets before the needs of its patients. I have witness this; an elderly lady who was due for discharge later that day was awoken at 4am to be moved from an acute ward to a nurse led ward so a patient who had just been revived from cardiac arrest (but had then had the decision made should she suffer another (which was imminent due to not receiving active treatment ) she would not be resuscitated)could have her bed. The lady who had suffered the cardiac arrest current location was an admission ward in a side room and she was to be moved to the other ladys acute bed in a bay with three other women, all this to ensure A&E would not breach the 4 hour waiting time.

    The lady who had suffered the cardiac arrest was never moved to the bed (possibly due to the likely nature she had past away) but the other lady was moved.

    It horrifies me this goes on, if it had been my grandmother who had been woken at 4am to be moved to another ward I would be outraged. And if I was the relatives of the lady who was to be moved from a side room to a bay with 3 other patients I would have been distraught, especially if the lady had past away in the corridor.

    This trust is also in the process of applying for foundation status, big mistake if this granted in my opinion, mid staffs trust rings a bell (just not as bad; yet...).

    It should also be noted that just before his resignation he was suspended by NHS Lincolnshire because they were investigating failings in the trust clinical governance.

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  • I have to applaud Mr. Bowles' stance and his decision, though it is absolutely lamentable that he should find himself obliged to vacate his post. It is evident he cares about his patients and staff, and is at the same time outraged by the compromises his organisation is expected to make, and I have to say that in his position I could not reconcile the objectives he was being forced to implement with the knock-on effect it is already having on patient care and staff morale. Enough pussyfooting around, we have already been informed that trusts have been massaging figures to beat government targets. Well done, Mr. Bowles, and I'm sorry you had to take this course of action.

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