Concern continues to grow over our hospital services following a Care Quality Commission inspection of West Herts NHS Trust Overall the trust has been placed in ‘special measures’ following concerns over safety and leadership.
None of our hospitals received a clean bill of health with both Watford and St Albans hospitals being deemed ‘inadequate’ and Hemel Hospital ‘requiring improvement’.
Amongst other shortfalls in performance the report cited issues related to inadequate staffing:
- ‘There were staff shortages in some areas and an over reliance of agency and locum staff’
- ‘Overall vacancy rates were at 12% at the time of inspection - higher than the average for the region which was at 9%. This was higher for nursing staff where vacancies were at 19%’
The Trust currently spends £6 million to keep Hemel Hospital in mothballs and huge amounts on agency staff. Such a waste of public funds. With increasing austerity measures planned by this government and the Stevens report indicating £22billion of ‘efficiency’ savings on the way for the NHS, our community’s health is at risk.
What has our MP Mike Penning been doing since his election in 2005 in response to rising levels of alarm over the health care of our community?
In opposition he said “I am committed to fighting for our own full service hospital in Hemel and, despite appearances, I really do believe this is still achievable. In the meantime, however, I will continue to press the Government and their NHS bureaucrats to stop the cuts and allow the people of Hemel to have the quality of service they deserve",
So what’s been going on? Since becoming a Minister in 2010 Mr. Penning has been part of a Government that has shut 66 A&E and maternity units across the UK and, according to Hansard, has not mentioned Hemel Hospital once on the floor of the House of Commons.