08:00 Monday 11 February 2013

Queen's boss admits possible care failings

Written byBY ADRIAN JENKINS

A HOSPITAL boss has admitted her organisation ‘may have some pockets of issues with care’.

Helen Ashley, chief executive of Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Queen’s Hospital, also conceded there was ‘a lot of wastage’ in the NHS.

However, she made clear she did not expect any staff ‘to put self-interests in front of care’ and stressed any action the trust took to meet its financial challenge would ‘not compromise nor detract’ from its ambition to ensure patients had the best experience.

Ms Ashley’s comments came after publication of the Francis report into the Stafford Hospital scandal, which saw up to 1,200 patients die as managers ‘ignored the warning signs and put corporate self-interest and cost control ahead of patients and their safety’.

Asked if patients could be assured that Stafford could not happen in Burton, she said: “What happened at Stafford went on over many years.

“As with most organisations, we know we may have some pockets of issues with care; we do have policies and mechanisms in place to monitor our performance.

“We are committed to delivering the highest standards of care at all times and patients and relatives are encouraged to speak to staff if they are unhappy with any aspect of the service.

“I do not expect any of my staff to put self interests in front of patient care.

“However, that doesn’t mean that everything we do is productive.

“There is a lot of wastage in the NHS; however, our service and cost improvement programmes are overseen by our medical director and director of nursing.

“Any action taken by the trust to address its financial challenge will not compromise nor detract from our ambition to deliver the best patient experience.”

Ms Ashley said the trust was committed to the highest standards of openness, integrity and accountability.

Every trust employee had to feel safe and supported to express any concerns as outlined in its whistleblowers’ policy, she said, adding that the trust’s patient advice and liaison service always ‘fully investigated concerns’.

Her comments came after former trust board member William Saunders told the Mail that trusts were focussed on money and targets rather than care and its quality.

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