Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Tameside Hospital appoint 'Turnaround Director' costing £1000 per day!

The annual Hospital Guide published by Dr.Foster Intelligence, which was released at the end of November, has 'red-flagged' Tameside Hospital for its mortality (death) rate for 2010/11. According to the Guide, the hospital's death rate could be as much as 17% above the average hospital death rate.

Using the 'Summary Hospital-level Mortality Indicator'(SHMI), which measures deaths in hospital and deaths within 30 days of leaving hospital following hospital treatment, Tameside Hospital is ranked the fifth worst in the country for its SHMI.

The report criticises the hospital for its failure to operate on 40% of patients with hip fractures within two days. It also recommends that the hospital cease performing Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms, due to an increased death rate. The hospital was also found to have had 136 deaths following surgery in the same period:

"which could indicate problems with patients developing complications or could raise questions about whether some operations should have taken place at all."

The hosptal's Medical Director, Tariq Mahmood, said that Tameside Hospital took the findings seriously but pointed out that the Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratio (HSMR) of 101.1 for the hospital was well within the normal range. However, the hospital's critics have suggested that the fall in the HSMR at Tameside Hospital, has more to do with the improved recording of clinical data by management than any improvements in patient care.

The Dr. Foster report is the latest in a series of damning judgements made against the hospital this year. In November the local coroner, John Pollard, criticised the hospital for a 'lack of urgency' in the care of a 13 year old boy who died. He also criticised the hospital for its treatment of a seven month old baby who having been discharged from hospital with a diagnosis of a tummy bug, died shortly after, of meningitis.

Although her leadership abilities have been criticised and the hospital given a 'Red Rating' for lack of governance by the official regulator 'Monitor', Christine Green, the C.E.O. of Tameside Hospital, is not the type to brook opposition and she refuses to quit her post.

In a report which was published last year, a senior consultant orthopaedic surgeon at the hospital, Milton Pena, who is also the Chairman of the Senior Medical Staff Committee, wrote of a "culture of bullying and intimidation that pervades the Trust" and of hospital employees being afraid to ask critical questions.

We also understand that in August, Jack Markovic, the assistant head of Human Resources at Tameside Hospital, was escorted off the hospital premises by security staff after having attended a meeting. Despite our own inquiries, we have been unable to ascertain why the hospital took this action against him.

Health campaigner, Paul Broadhurst, from Dukinfield, is well known for his outspoken criticism of the management of Tameside Hospital. A member of the 'Local Involvement Network' (LINk), he writes regularly to his local newspapers. In September, quite unexpectedly, he received a letter from HEMPSONS solicitors in Manchester. The letter stated:

"We have been instructed by Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust who have consulted us as a consequence of your persistent abuse of the hospital's premises to conduct a campaign to discredit and harass those employed in the management of the hospital. You have previously been invited to express any concerns that you have through legitimate channels. We understand that although you had initially taken up this opportunity you have now reverted to your former behaviour which has been captured on CCTV footage and this is totally unacceptable.

When you come to the hospital you do so on license i.e. by virtue of permission granted to you by the hospital to enter their premises. If you persist in using Trust premises to display or distribute your campaign literature or attempt to disrupt the day to day running of the hospital the license granted to you will be withdrawn. You will become a trespasser and we will unfortunately have to take steps to escort you from the premises.

We do hope that such steps will not be necessary and that you will take advantage of the legitimate channels open to you to discuss your opinions or concerns about the way in which the trust is managed. We confirm the Trust do not seek to exclude you from attending the hospital for the purposes of seeking emergency or planned treatment..."

At the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Tameside Hospital which took place in September, Paul Broadhurst thanked Christine Green for the letter he'd received from the hospital solicitor "warning me off". Despite the invitation for Mr. Broadhurst to express his concerns using "legitimate channels", we understand that his e-mails to the hospital now go unanswered as well as his letters.

Although it was announced at the AGM that the hospital had a £1.39 million deficit and had made saving of £4.2 million by August, we understand that earlier this year, the cash-strapped hospital, appointed a 'Turnaround Director' costing in excess of £1000 per day. With consultants now running many NHS hospital's, one does wonder why we need hospital C.E.O.'s like Christine Green, who now receives more in salary £147,000 than the Prime Minister £142,000,(Tameside Advertiser 22 September 2010). Clearly, her enormous salary is not related to performance.

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