Stafford General Hospital. Money and targets, not patient care

So, you may have seen Stafford Hospital in the news recently. For people who live near the hospital it’s no surprise. The hospital has had a bad reputation for many years and the people of Staffordshire are well aware of the issues. A couple of weeks back the local news reported that the Staffordshire NHS trust chairman Toni Brisby and chief executive Martin Yeates had stepped down with immediate effect. This was before the damning report into the problems at Stafford General were published. In thruth, they were probably aware of the report contents and took the easy route out. In a TV report last night a reporter was unable to talk to one of them because work was being done to the multi-million-pound house he lived in. However, when they resigned (before the report came out) the Trust did state…

Ms Brisby and Mr Yeates had stepped down “to enable the trust to build on the considerable improvements that have been made over the past 18 months”.

This included improving the A&E department, recruiting more doctors and nurses and reducing infection rates to below the national average.

Ms Brisby said “It is with great sadness and reluctance that I have made the decision to step down as chair, from what I consider now to be a transformed organisation from the one I joined in 2004.”

This is all so wrong. My dad was in this hospital. He died in this hospital. Tests took too long. There wasn’t enough staff and those that were there were stressed out. Doctors never seemed to be available. Everything took far longer than it needed.

This needs fixing. It’s 2009. There’s too many managers in the NHS chasing targets and trying to get “Foundation” status with patient care suffering as a result. Even the response to the report has a “spin” on it with all the bad points quickly glossed over. It’s time to admit that things went very badly wrong. Having a receptionist doing the work of a nurse. Drinking out of vases. This is third-world stuff.