Heatherwood and Wexham Park NHS Foundation Trust is the next door hospital to Ashford and St. Peter’s. There have been more than a few closures, justified by the argument that these hospitals are there to help out.
When Ashford lost it’s A and E – the choice was to go to St. Peter’s or to Wexham Park.
When Wycombe and then Heatherwood lost their A and E’s – go to Wexham Park.
Now, the Care Quality Commission has issued a report saying that Slough’s hospital at Wexham Park is “failing to protect the welfare of its patients and there was a catalogue of failures”. The problems are mainly at Accident and Emergency, where I suspect they can’t cope with the increased number of patients as a result of the closures of the other local A and E’s.
‘Monitor’ who are supposed to keep an eye on Foundation trusts has demanded a recovery plan – although they are much more worried about the big black hole in the accounts. In April they issued an enforcement notice demanding urgent improvements in finance and governance. This is because the trust is heavily in debt and can only propose yet more closures and a massive sale of precious land and property in a desperate attempt to keep afloat.
Tracey Morgan was interviewed locally – she is the chief executive of Age UK in Slough and a Governor of the Hospital Trust – highly critical of the executives and managers. None of that is surprising. Last year, her 87 year old Mother went in to the hospital with a broken wrist but somehow acquired severe facial injuries while there.
It’s gone unexplained and unpunished. Not surprisingly Ms Morgan became active in trying to reform the trust – despairing of the traditional methods she had used before. Last year she sent the managers an e-mail outlining all the same problems the CQC have now raised.
Nothing was done; this is someone who is on the board of Berkshire Care Association, a Governor of the hospital and Chief executive of Age UK.
“I have seen care homes closed, reputations and livelihoods damaged for far less than the findings here”.
Of course, as a ‘Foundation trust’, this organisation has been freed from the bureaucracy of government (democratic) control and allowed to sink or swim with market forces. I don’t see much swimming going on here.
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