North Thanet`s MP, Sir Roger Gale, has described as 'disproportionate' the Care Quality Commission report following its inspection of the East Kent Hospitals Trust.
Speaking following the publication of the document, which describes the Trust as 'inadequate' and suggests that it be put into special measures, the MP said:
“Yesterday, the majority of the people that I represent in East Kent will have felt that they have good hospitals with caring staff generating acceptable outcomes . Today, they are being told that the services that they have trusted are unsafe.
"In spite of an ageing population East Kent has one of the lowest mortality rates in the country. Its staff are recognised by CQC as caring, the standard of care in dementia cases is high, critical care is good and East Kent is the first Trust ever to have been recommended for special measures while not in breach of its Monitor license.
"Of course there are issues of management and staffing that need to be addressed and in particular there is a problem of A&E services being overwhelmed by people using A&E unnecessarily as a GP service. As a result of increased patient demand there have also been times when the ration of nurses to staff has been too low and that is not acceptable.
"The fact is that East Kent has had about £12m stripped out of its budget to help to fund Community preventative services (money that has yet to reach those services!) and some difficult decisions have had to be taken. The inspection, which has been described to me as disorganised and chaotic, took place at a time when staff were understandably unsettled by change and during a period when, at the behest of the Royal College of Surgeons, there were serious reorganisation issues in respect of acute surgery.
"Those matters, and the staffing issues, were and are being addressed and many more nurses are being recruited to meet increased demands and workloads but good staff cannot be spirited out of thin air. The Chief Inspector of the CQC has been made aware of all of this but, one has to assume that to be seen to be “setting an example”, he has chosen to publish what is in effect historic information without much revision.
"East Kent`s MPs are proud of our hospitals, proud of the medical, nursing and ancillary staff working within them, have been treated by them ourselves and have confidence in the services that they provide.
"Improvements will continue to need to be made and will be made but it is perhaps time for Professor Sir Mike Richards and the CQC team to consider the possibility that there is, to use their words, “room for improvement” in their own approach if they are to continue in the role that they at present occupy.”
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