PERFORMANCE: The health secretary will visit James Paget University Hospitals FT this week after GPs warned of “another Mid Staffs” if care is not improved at the hospital.
A “whistle-blowing letter” from the GPs that make up the Health East clinical commissioning group to health secretary Andrew Lansley was read out in Parliament last month by Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey. Ms Coffey was speaking in a debate about NHS care of older people.
Mr Lansley is set to visit the hospital on Thursday and has said he will raise the GP’s concerns.
In September James Paget FT was warned by the Care Quality Commission over poor nutrition for older patients.
The letter from the GPs said: “As a group of concerned GPs we have been forced to pursue this whistle blowing option, because we are concerned that our new GP consortium ‘Health East’ may fail to be successful due to the failings of our main, acute provider the James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
“Health East will be depending on the trust to provide the acute care for most of our patients and we have lost confidence in the ability of its leadership to correct its current failings. Please act quickly before we have yet another Mid Staffs on our hands.”
Ms Coffey said: “I do not suggest that someone going into the hospital will automatically suffer poor care, but that is the reaction of GPs who are expected to work with patients to ensure that they receive the best care.
“In the circumstances, it is my role to press the leadership of the James Paget hospital on constituents’ behalf. In particular, the chairman of the hospital trust should consider his position. I appreciate that the financial risk at the hospital is low, and that that may reflect good financial governance, but patient care is key.
“The chairman has provided useful leadership, but — after two failed care inspections and with the possibility of a third — it is time for him to step aside and allow new leadership to come forward.”
In response, Mr Lansley said: “I am visiting the James Paget Hospital next week to meet the chair and chief executive to discuss what they are doing to address these critical issues.”
27 October 2011