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Basildon chief nurse: staff did not raise failings


Unsafe conditions uncovered by inspections at Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals Foundation Trust should have been reported by staff, the trust’s nursing director has said.

Maggie Rogers told Nursing Times: “We rely on the staff and teams to escalate anything they are not happy with because they are essentially accountable.

“There is no doubt if somebody had escalated that level of hygiene deficit we would have acted on it.”

Ms Rogers said reporting the problems was a joint responsibility of clinical and facilities staff at all levels.

However, she acknowledged: “It has to be the board [that is responsible] and all our statements have acknowledged that.”

Ms Rogers claimed that problems reported by the Care Quality Commission – including blood-stained curtains, a lack of privacy for patients and equipment past its use-by date – did not reflect the trust as a whole. She added that said she had been working to increase nurse numbers for several years and hoped to fill all positions next year.

Nursing Times reported in July that the trust had recruited 15 nurses from south Asia because of problems recruiting. At the time a spokeswoman said retaining staff was difficult because Basildon is close to London, but has no London pay weighting.

Her comments came as the Nursing and Midwifery Council announced it was considering action against the trust’s nurses and nurse leaders.

The NMC will carry out an inspection at the trust later this week, which is only the second of its kind, and could also result in it being prevented from taking trainees.

The regulator said it has asked the CQC, health information firm Dr Foster and foundation regulator Monitor for their evidence “patient safety may have been compromised due to poor nursing or midwifery care”.

NMC chief executive and registrar Professor Dickon Weir-Hughes said it would then decide “what appropriate courses of action should be taken”. The NMC confirmed this could include fitness to practise cases.

The NMC said the only comparable intervention was an inspection at the North West London Hospitals Trust in 2005 which, prompted by a damning Healthcare Commission report on maternity services, resulted in trainees being removed.

A spokesman said: “What has alarmed us is that people from all levels have come to us [since the news reports] and said, ‘We have known there have been problems for months.’”


Readers' comments (19)

  • What does this story tell us that "NMC considers action against nurses as trust admits 'embarrassing' care failures"
    3 December, 2009 By Dave West didn't?

    Looks like NT is either struggling for copy or trying to whip up a bit more hysteria.

    See comment on the 3 Dec story before wasting you time with this one.

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  • What type of leader will blame her staff withour clearly accepting personal responsability? Its a mess and it stinks. I would not want to work for basildon hospital if this is what happens when there are problmes

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  • This sounds a little bit like General Custer, saying that the massacre at the little big horn was the foot soldiers fault, for not reporting that there were an awful lot of indians in opposition.

    Surely the Nursing Director and her line managers was making time to visit the clinical areas on a regular basis or was she caught up in the never ending bureacratic system that has seen so many problems remain unresolved.

    Since General Management was introduced in the early 80's, and the Nursing Management structures dismantled, many nurses have seen standards fall, we seem to be getting report after report criticising basic requirements and failures, isn't it time that the government took back the responsibility for the standards of service

    Perhaps the next government, be it David
    or Gordon should re-introduce the original Thatcher policy which controlled the amount of money spent by authorities on non clinical management grades to 10% of their budget!

    The NHS is now a complete beurocratic mess created by politicians who are determined to create as much confusion as they possibly can, as they continue the move towards privatisation which was started in 1980 by the Conservatives and has been continued by New Labour.

    As for the NMC holding an investigation, is it really their responsibility to do this until an individual nurse has been identified and reported to them?

    To the nursing staff, l would say make sure that you get your Union to stand up and protect your rights to be treated justly, don't take justice for granted.

    Scapegoating is still a problem in the NHS.

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  • I have a relative who is currently a patient in Basildon Hospital. Before the story broke I had a complaint going through the trust about the nursing care she has received. In the six weeks she has had the misfortune to be a patient in this hospital (on a total of four different wards) I have been disappointed in the poor nursing care she has received. The majority of nurses we are in contact with are rude and give the impression of being uncaring about their patient's welfare. My relative's broken skin and loss of weight are proof of this.

    Before the nurses are judged, their leaders need to be held accountable as this type of behaviour demonstrates the poor culture which has impregnated Basildon Hospital

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  • The concerns in this situation will have been raised time and time again by clinical staff, patients and caregivers. It is of great concern that these senior staff members do not take time to do a reality check on the services they are responsible for, they should watch and listen to what is actually happening to the patients.

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  • Of course the chief nursing personnell will want to keep her job. No wonder she is blaming the nurses onthe floor.

    Where was she? Does she do a walkabout on the floor or is she in her office putting more paperwork into progress so that the nurses make time to complete the various paperwork BUT NOT TIME FOR OUR PATIENTS and surroundings

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  • That sounds like a blame someone else to me!

    No wonder the place is useless with that kind of management

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  • It comes as no surprise that the NMC are now charging around looking for someone to blame for the problems at Basildon.

    Rather than looking for ways to support the staff, and strategies to fix or prevent the issues, they are charging in mob handed after the horse has bolted, threatening to 'take action against the trust’s nurses and nurse leaders'.

    If the NMC choose to punish rather than support, perhaps Professor Dickon Weir-Hughes could begin by looking at the board, since Maggie Rogers has said the responsibility also lies there. As an executive member of BH&R trust, Professor Dickon Weir-Hughes is ideally places to understand the responsibility Basildon and Thurrock university Trust has towards its staff to provide support and help. not just punish because it makes good headlines.

    It seems a shames that nursing has a professional body who would rather punish than help, it makes nursing in the UK look unprofessional.

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  • Maggie Rodgers should be ashamed of herself and if she had any decency would resign. I have worked at the trust for 7 years now and would defend the care it delivers to the hilt, unlike Maggie who serves no purpose other than to destroy already despondant and demorilised staff. I didn't even know who she was until a month ago and she calls herself 'The Chief Nurse'. As 'The Chief' she should be supporting and guiding her staff and leading by example NOT using her dedicated nurses as scapegoats for her own inefficiencies.

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  • I too work for the Trust, and like the previous person, would absolutely defend the care we give. I have worked for the trust for over 12 years and have NEVER SEEN this embarrasment of a "chief nurse" in my life, until about a month ago when, following the CQC visit, she was obviously terrified that she might somehow have to take an iota of responsibility for the hygiene standards, (seeing as she earns over a hundred grand a year). But no, my experience with her involved her slating the nurses and delivering possibly the most negative, contemptuous and patronising presentation i have heard in my life. How can she make a judgement about the standard of cleanliness, care or anything else when she never takes the trouble to come and see the wards for herself. She is an utter disgrace to the hardworking, dedicated and loyal nurses currently slogging their guts out at Basildon hospital, and being scapegoated for her incompetence

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