Milton Pena - NHS Whistle-blowerA former consultant surgeon who retired from Tameside Hospital in October 2014, after working for forty-years in the NHS and specializing in orthopaedic surgery, has slammed Tameside Hospital for its plan to close 246 beds by 2020, which he says will put patients at serious risk.
At a public meeting held in Stalybridge last week, Milton Pena, who worked for seventeen-years at Tameside Hospital as a consultant orthopaedic surgeon, told the meeting that such a massive reduction in bed capacity would lead to a drastic deterioration in the quality of care offered to patients at Tameside Hospital. “Safety, effectiveness, and patient experience, will be significantly affected”, he declared.
Mr Pena told the meeting that with a population in Tameside & Glossop of 250,000, the proposed cut in bed capacity from 449 to 203 beds in acute care, would mean that there would only be 80 beds per 100,000 people. He added: “When I arrived at Tameside Hospital in 1997, it had more than 600 beds for in-patients.”
In a letter that he wrote to the ‘Care Quality Commission’ (CQC), in August, Mr Pena said that the idea that losing 246 beds at the hospital could be compensated for by the creation of five multi-disciplinary care teams, is misguided and not based on evidence. He also says in the letter that there were 531 incident reports by nurses regarding lack of nursing staff at the hospital in the year from May 2015 to 2016 and yet,
“No one at the Board meeting (which he attended) questioned the Financial Director on how the Trust efficiency program savings can be delivered in full without affecting quality of care, clinical effectiveness, patient experience and safety.”
Speaking of the Board at Tameside Hospital, Mr Pena told the CQC:
“I attended two Board meetings as a member of the public, the latest on Thursday 28 July. With few exceptions, I did not observe challenging questions from the Chair, executive and non-executive directors, when reports were presented to the Board. The approval of the Board of the ‘Contingency Planning Team Report’ by PwC, without any reservations, regarding the plan to close 246 beds by 2020, shows the Board has not fully considered the impact of decisions being taken…There was not a single medically qualified director at the Board meeting on 28 July."
In September 2013, Tameside Hospital Foundation Trust, was declared financially unsustainable by ‘Monitor’ the regulator, three-months after the resignation of former CEO, Christine Green, who left following the review by Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS England Medical Director. Recently the hospital has come under fire for poor standards of cleanliness and for its high mortality ratio.
Mr Pena is calling on people to write to their MPs requesting that the planned bed cuts be rejected and he says that the integration of care, does not have to incorporate such massive bed cuts. Since retiring in 2014, he has published his memoirs entitled, ‘The Flight of the Black Necked Swans’, which details his effort to improve standards of patient care at Tameside Hospital.