With surprisingly (or not!) little fanfare, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) report on Stafford hospital was published a few days ago. Given the continued brickbats hurled at the hospital and just about anyone associated with it by politicians and “patients’ groups” like ‘Cure the NHS’, the verdict of the report might surprise you.
The CQC’s report leads with a graphic that shows how the hospital is performing against expectations:
According to the website, a green tick means:
All standards were being met when we last checked. (If this service has not had a CQC inspection since it registered with us, our check may be based on our assessment of declarations and evidence supplied by the service itself.)
The bracketed part of the description definitely does not apply to Stafford, as the hospital was inspected on the 1st, 4th and 5th of February.
Disturbingly, but definitely unsurprisingly, the report also states (as the image shows) that the inspection was carried out because of
concerns that standards weren’t being met.
But it’s not the possibility that standards are not being met that is disturbing – it is the fact that these concerns were raised at all.
You see, the hospital was inspected less than 9 months ago, in June 2012. The result?
‘Stafford Hospital was meeting all the essential standards of quality and safety‘.
For another inspection to be arranged so soon because of ‘concerns’ raised about standards in a hospital that had been ‘green-ticked’ in all areas can only mean one thing.
That someone – or more likely a collection of someones – is agitating against Stafford Hospital without good reason. Or to put it another way, the raising of these ‘concerns’ betrays another agenda being followed, and a mischievous (or more likely malevolent) one.
The timing of the ‘concerns’ that triggered the inspection, while Monitor’s report on Mid Staffs’ viability was in its final phase of preparation, seems unlikely to be mere coincidence.
The fact that the CQC report could find no fault with the hospital, but that Monitor has still decided that the Trust is financially and clinically unviable, tells its own story of the real reasons and motives for the attack on Stafford hospital, and through it on the people of Stafford themselves.
What do patients say about this ‘financially and clinically un-viable hospital? The CQC report tells us:
the patients we spoke with were positive about the care they had received in the hospital. One patient told us, “I was in a lot of pain but they have sorted it. Eleven patients all told us, I cannot fault the care”. One patient told us that they needed frequent stays in Stafford and other hospitals and said, I have been on a number of wards, I have always been well cared for and am always treated well. I have had a better experience in this hospital than others I have been in. Parents that we spoke with on the childrens ward told us that their child had received, Brilliant care and, Excellent care..
We saw positive and friendly interaction between staff and patients in the hospital. Staff were seen to be friendly, polite and respectful. Patients told us, “Nothing is too much for them”, “Im sure if I was worried about anything it would be sorted” and, “They are very good but I would still tell them if I was not happy”.
But the CQC’s report makes absolutely clear – for anyone not wilfully blind to it – that Stafford is a good hospital. Perhaps even a great one. And certainly one that the people of Stafford will be massively worse off without.
Show support to Stafford hospital and the people of Stafford – and for the NHS here, and write to your MP to demand that they take concerted action to save the hospital from the unwarranted attack on it.
(Edit: There is now a petition on the government’s e-petition website calling for a referendum of local people before any measures are taken re Stafford and Cannock hospitals. It needs 100,000 signatures to go forward for Parliamentary debate and is already at over 2,000. Please sign the petition here and publicise it via your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Thank you!)