I’m very concerned but not entirely surprised to read the Care Quality Commission’s report which has highlighted some very worrying shortcomings at the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.
It’s notable that the staff themselves are providing a good standard of care and treating patients in a compassionate and sensitive way, although I am aware that there have been consistently high vacancy rates for many clinical posts over many months which has put additional pressure on existing staff. But it’s very alarming to hear that the underlying systems and procedures aren’t good enough to ensure people are kept safe and free from harm.
As a Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health, a former Primary Care Trust Chair and a former member of Labour’s Shadow Health Team, I believe the new Chief Executive, Sir David Dalton, has his hands full if he is to lead the Trust out of the current mire it’s in. CQC has pointed to an apparent lack of managerial control, and for this to happen in such a large NHS Trust in the context of the Devo Manc health deal doesn’t bode well.
As I have said before, I believe this deal is more about devolving financial risk to Greater Manchester and less about devolving decision-making to a local level. It’s about delegation not devolution and is likely to leave the region at least £2bn short by 2020.
So to find out now that hospitals in such a large Trust are in such disarray is very worrying. I will be seeking to meet with Sir David as soon as possible to follow up on the CQCs very worrying findings and what actions have been put in place to ensure the highest quality care for the people of Oldham and Saddleworth.