Kettering General Hospital has recently been put into special measures, and it is also reportedly £25m in the red. If things couldn’t get much worse this week BBC Look East have reported that there may have been a deliberate attempt to manipulate waiting time figures in an attempt to make the hospital look good with the result that thousands of patients have been removed from waiting lists for operations and 138 of them suffering from “harm” as a direct result.
This latest allegation comes from a whistle blowing manager. They claim someone at the Trust that runs the hospital deliberately manipulated the figures by removing certain categories of patients from the waiting list. This includes those that had been waiting more than a year for operations, in an attempt to ensure the hospital “looked good” to senior managers and save the risk of crippling fines being imposed on the hospital for poor performance.
It is thought that the hospital may have ‘lost’ around 6,000 patients and although the Trust’s Medical Director denies any kind of foul play, he admitted there had been a problem and apologised on behalf of the Trust saying that any patients with concerns over their waiting time should contact either their consultant of their GP.
This latest accusation is very worrying and while I only know what has been reported and don’t therefore know any of the details it must be so frustrating and demoralising for the hardworking doctors and nurses that work at KGH.
The hospital services the people of Kettering and Corby and I’m sure most of us agree that in the vast majority of cases the staff and the service we receive are excellent. However, it is deeply worrying if there are problems at a management level that are undermining the reputation of the hospital. Then in turn affecting the morale of the dedicated front line staff we all rely on.
The NHS is a huge and complicated organisation but that is no excuse for how it has been run down over the past few years. Unfortunately stories such as this one come as little surprise to anyone. Government funding has failed to keep up with increased health care demand which has led to cuts in real terms which are obviously adding even more pressure on services.
The Labour Party created the NHS in the aftermath of war and national bankruptcy, and it is our proudest achievement, providing universal healthcare for all on the basis of need, free at the point of use. It is with dismay therefore that my colleagues and I see how this institution is slowly and systematically run down.
If elected Labour therefore pledge to invest in our NHS - to give patients the modern and well-resourced services they need for the 21st century. Labour will ensure that NHS patients get the world-class quality of care they need and that staff are able to deliver the standards that patients expect.
- We will guarantee and uphold the standards of service to which patients are legally entitled under the NHS constitution.
- By guaranteeing access to treatment within 18 weeks, we will take one million people off NHS waiting lists by the end of the next Parliament.
- We will guarantee that patients can be seen in A&E within four hours.
- By properly resourcing the NHS, Labour will stop the routine breach of safe levels of bed occupancy.
- We will end mixed-sex wards.
- We will deliver the Cancer Strategy for England in full by 2020, helping 2.5 million people living with cancer.
- And, by properly resourcing ambulance services, we will end the scandal of slowing ambulance-response times.
You can read Labour’s full manifesto commitments on health care by clicking here.