I remember my 27th birthday very clearly.
I was at Medway hospital with my Mum, sister, grandfather and my 90 year old grandmother who was suffering from dementia and had suffered a fall and had a nasty leg wound. After a long wait in triage she was moved on trolley to a staging area for another few hours. As time went by mum became most distraught and asked the only nearby nurse for assistance, namely the wound dressed and water for a dehydrated patient who had no idea what was happening.
Unfortunately, the constituents have had very little voice during consultation as the regular meetings and forums were only available for the Trust's members. It seems that, even though problems have been identified and raised to the Hospital Board they had become fixed on pushing this through solely for the money and ignoring valid concerns of patients, users and patient groups as well as their elected local representitives.
However, the merger has been put on hold due to Medway's high levels of mortality. On Thursday Chatham & Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch raised concerns in Westminster;
The Medway Maritime hospital is under investigation for higher than expected hospital standardised mortality rates, and there is currently a specific outlier alert on septicaemia. Worrying, this is not the first time this has happened. Discrepancies in coding were highlighted way back in 2008 with the discovery that 8% of deaths were being recorded as end-of-life care when the proportion should have been 37% ... A clear manipulation and distortion.
I, like Tracey presumably, am not accusing Medway of repeated malpractice but clearly there are issues that need addressing. I would sincerely hope that there will be maximum transparency and not just to the Trust's members.
I'd like to tell another story.
About a decade ago a nurse was struck off for failing in patient care. On a night shift an understaffed ward (1 nurse, an auxiliary and an agency) forced the nurse, with no training or real supervisory training to take charge of the shift. In the middle of the night she heard a noise that could have been a slap but was unsure. Having seen the agency with a confused elderly patient moments before she presumed it had been an altercation. With no one senior about and with no evidence of wrong doing as well as dealing with a whole ward to deal with she thought she'd report it to a superior first thing in the
Morning. She was suspended and taken to tribunal for failure to act straight away despite all the problems.
She was sacked.
A more legally savvy relative tried to appeal the case and dig up information on the processes involved and was met with an sir of hostility that ended with the threat of legal action for harassment.
As I understand it there has been quite a history of bullying at Medway hospital, indeed Rehman Chishti has been up there three times for this reason yet it is still continuing, however it was Tracey (not Rehman) who bought it up in Parliament again;
A culture of bullying and its suppression within the NHS has been mentioned. The latest staff survey at the Medway Maritime hospital shows that there is still a perception that bullying is widespread.
Then of course there was the motivational speaker issue that made the national press (here) with up to a hundred jobs being lost but £140k available for a motivational speaker...
Something is not right up at the Maritime hospital. Although I can report that every time I have been there the nursing and medical staff have been fantastic and this is in no way a slight at hard working individuals on little pay, there is something questioning the management and its practises and would encourage greater transparity for patient groups and families and where there is liability the right course of action is taken.