CONCERNED Thurrock Councillors have slammed health bosses for failing to provide information to enable them to adequately scrutinise the progress in keeping the Basildon hospital clean and safe for patients.
A meeting of Thurrock Council’s Health and Well-being Overview and Scrutiny Committee (18th February) had hoped to examine the hospitals action plan and question representatives from the Primary Care Trust (PCT) and hospital following the unplanned visit in October by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors.
The inspection found breaches in infection control standards, including blood-spattered equipment, filthy mattresses and dirty toilets, for which the CQC issued a warning notice. Then in November, the hospital was criticised for high death rates by an independent health watchdog.
Chair Wendy Herd said, “Our number one concern is standing up for Thurrock residents. We have already questioned the Chair of the Board of Governors, the Chair of Non Executive Directors and the Primary Care Trust at previous meetings.”
We have asked for weekly updates as to the progress of the recommendations by the Care Quality Commission and they promised last month to provide the action plan that has been put in place at the hospital to be discussed at this months meeting. The weekly reports have been sporadic to say the least and they failed to provide the action plan despite reassurances they would.
We had hoped to see this before our meeting on Thursday to be able to support the hospital and act as a critical friend.
Members questioned health bosses on the cleaning contract and were shocked that the data on performance indicators provided to the Board of Directors in previous meetings had not been challenged by them.
Concerns were also raised regarding the £8.5 million financial black hole at the health trust and news that doctors are being told not to send patients to Basildon Hospital for non-emergency operations or outpatients for follow up appointments and what the implications this would have for Thurrock residents using the hospital.
One recommendation from the meeting was for LINK (an independent advisory board) to initiate its powers to make an inspection of Basildon Hospital and report back its findings to the committee.
Councillor Wendy Herd added, “Councillors and residents need to be kept fully informed and up to date on progress. We can’t be kept in the dark and not given the information we require to enable the committee to adequately fulfil its role in standing up for the best interests of our residents.”