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Probe launched by watchdog after string of allegations against The Christie

The Christie.
The Christie, Manchester.

A watchdog is examining a string of allegations made against The Christie by whistleblowers.

Monitor, the health sector regulator, met a group of people who made the allegations which included fraud and issues around patient care.

Officers from the watchdog will now visit the world-renowned cancer treatment centre in Withington to carry out a preliminary inquiry into the claims.

They include allegations that human tissue samples were sold to drugs firms without telling patients - a claim strongly denied by the trust - but which the Human Tissue Authority is investigating.

Those claims stem from a redacted statement given to Monitor and the Care Quality Commission by one whistleblower.

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper tabled a written Parliamentary question to Health Ministers having received information alleging the Christie NHS Foundation Trust have sold tissue samples to pharmaceutical companies without patients’ consent.

“Sadly we only have a redacted statement because neither the Care Quality Commission or Monitor will give any reassurances that the gagging clause the individual signed won’t be enforced. This is despite the Health Secretary banning gagging clauses that prevent NHS staff from speaking out.

“If the Christie, the Care Quality Commission, Monitor and the Department of Health have nothing to hide then they should be brave enough to say that this gagging clause won’t be enforced so that we can then get to the truth of these very grave and serious allegations.”

– Rosie Cooper MP

“We take whistle-blowing extremely seriously and that is why we met with a group of people with a number of concerns about The Christie NHS Foundation Trust.

“We listened to what they had to say and as a result we are working very closely with the Care Quality Commission and will be undertaking a joint visit to the trust to carry out a preparatory review into the concerns raised.”

– Monitor statement.

In a statement, the hospital said: "We have been informed by Monitor and the Care Quality Commission (CQC), that they will be visiting the Trust later this month to carry out a preparatory review into issues raised by whistleblowers.

“This visit is not an investigation or an inspection, and has been prompted by concerns raised about the process of whistleblowing at the Trust to Monitor and CQC.

“Both Monitor and the CQC will be focusing their attention on the method and processes available for staff to raise concerns. Neither body has any concerns about The Trust’s patient care or treatment or the running of our charity.

“The Christie continues to achieve first rate results and patients continue to provide excellent feedback as a result of our highly skilled and professional expertise. In the latest national radiotherapy survey, 96% of patients rated their care as excellent or good, 97% said they were treated with the highest dignity and respect and in 33 out of 48 areas patients rated us as the best in the country.

“We are committed to maintaining an open and honest climate and feel strongly that all staff should feel confident and secure in whistleblowing and raising any concerns about something that is happening at work or how patients or colleagues are being treated. We also signpost our employees to a variety of external sources of advice and support such as the CQC, local counter fraud and Monitor.

“In a recent staff survey, 88% of our employees said they feel supported by colleagues, 97% would recommend The Christie to family and friends for treatment and 80% would speak up freely about concerns over safety or patient care.

“Patients are, and always will be our priority, and we remain committed to providing the very best standards of care and treatment in a world class cancer centre.”


Full report: Tameside Hospital remains in special measures

Tameside Hospital will remain in special measures after inspectors said its care was still inadequate.

The Chief Inspector of Hospitals said the care of critically ill patients, along with staffing levels and surgery, were still not good enough.

The Trust, in Ashton under Lyne, is among 11 across the country ordered to make improvements by the government because of high death rates.

A relative of a patient who was given poor care at Tameside says staff still need to listen to patients and their families.

Hospital has 'made improvements' says Trust

Tameside Hospital is to stay in special measures for a further six months after inspectors rated the hospital as 'inadequate'.

Inspectors found critical care, surgery and staffing levels were still areas of concern.

The trust says it has made improvements and taken on an extra 150 nurses.

John Goodenough, who is a Chief Nurse at the hospital, told ITV News:

"I would say that the hospital has absolutely transformed. I think the culture, the open visible leadership from the top is phenomenal. I think the pace of change is incredible, and I think our patients and staff are telling us that now."

– John Goodenough, Chief Nurse

Health watchdog rules Tameside Hospital 'inadequate'

England's Chief Inspector of Hospitals has recommended that Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust should remain in special measures, following his first inspection of the quality of its services.

The trust had been placed into special measures by Sir Bruce Keogh in July last year after concerns were raised about mortality rates, emergency care, staffing levels, patient experience and leadership.

While health watchdog the CQC found that some improvements had been made at the trust since then, there has not yet been enough progress to recommend that the trust leave special measures at this time.

Tameside Hospital to stay in 'special measures'

Tameside Hospital will stay in special measures Credit: ITV

Tameside Hospital will remain in special measures, because it has failed to make sufficient improvements after a review condemned its care.

The hospital, in Ashton-Under-Lyne, was criticised in the Keogh Report a year ago. The report examined patient death rates in the wake of the Mid Staffordshire Hospital scandal.

The health watchdog, the Care Quality Commission, will reveal later today that it still has areas of concern after repeated re-inspections of Tameside's services.

Tameside is expected to stay under constant review from NHS experts for another six months.


Full report: School in Lancashire planning to ban packed lunches

by Elaine Willcox

A school in Lancashire is planning to ban packed lunches.

The headteacher at All Saints Primary in Clayton le Moors said a government adviser found fewer than 1 per cent of lunches brought into school met nutritional standards.

Too many of the 5 to 7 years olds were eating crisps and chocolate everyday so they will get a free school meal instead.

Full report: Mothers face ban on taking placenta pills

by Mel Barham

It is a part of birth most women would probably rather forget, but for a growing number of new mothers, the practice of eating the placenta - or rather taking them as pills - is becoming more popular with those keen to beat the baby blues.

But now the EU is considering banning the practice.

READ: New mums defend right to eat their own placentas

Our correspondent Mel Barham has been to meet a lady whose business could now be at risk and a mum who swears by the benefits.

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