Video: 'Hit squad' to be sent to East Lancashire Hospitals following publication of death rates report (From Burnley and Pendle Citizen)
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Video: 'Hit squad' to be sent to East Lancashire Hospitals following publication of death rates report
Updated 3:35pm Tuesday 16th July 2013 in News
External teams are to be sent into 11 hospitals identified by Sir Bruce Keogh as having "fundamental breaches of care", Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said today.
And East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust - which runs Blackburn and Burnley Hospitals - is among the trusts placed into special measures.
Investigations in East Lancashire revealed poor governance, lack of staff at weekends and medical staff "talking down" to patients and their families when they voiced concerns, Mr Hunt told MPs.
Mr Hunt said the special measures would be used after mortality data said thousands of patients may have died in the hospitals.
And he said the best way to restore the public's trust in the NHS was "transparency and honesty" about the problems faced by the health service.
ABOVE: Jeremy Hunt's statement to the House of Commons today
Mr Hunt said: "In its 65th year this government is deeply proud of our NHS. We salute the doctors, nurses and other professionals who have never worked harder to look after each and every one of us at our most vulnerable.
"We recognise that the problems identified today are not typical of the whole NHS nor of the care given by many wonderful NHS staff.
"But those staff are the ones who are most betrayed when we ignore or pass-over poor care.
"The last government left the NHS with a system that covered-up weak hospital leadership and the last government also failed to prioritise compassionate care."
Mr Hunt said the review had found the NHS's reputation mattered more than individual patients and targets mattered more than people.
He said: "We owe it to the 3 million who use the NHS every week to tackle and confront abuse, incompetence and weak leadership head-on.
"No statistics are perfect but mortality rates suggest since 2005 thousands more people may have died than would normally be expected at the 14 trusts reviewed by Sir Bruce.
"Worryingly in half of those trusts the CQC (Care Quality Commission), the regulator specifically responsible for patient safety and care, failed to spot any real cause for concern rating them as compliant with basic standards."
Mr Hunt said each of the trusts had seen "substantial changes" to their management since 2010, including a new chief executive or chairman at nine of the 14.
But he said: "However, while some have improved failure or mediocrity is so deeply entrenched at others that they have continued to decline, making the additional measures I announce today necessary.
"This time the process was thorough, expert-led and consisted of both planned, unannounced and out-of-hours visits placing particular weight on the views of staff and patients.
"Where failures were found that presented an immediate risk to patients they were confronted straight away rather than waiting until the report was finished."
Mr Hunt added: "Sir Bruce judged that none of the 14 hospitals are providing consistently high quality of care to patients with some very concerning examples of poor practice.
"He identified patterns across many of them including professional and geographic isolation, failure to act on data or information that showed cause for concern, the absence of a culture of openness, a lack of willingness to learn from mistakes, a lack of ambition, an ineffectual governance and assurance processes.
"In some cases, trust boards were shockingly unaware of problems discovered by the review teams in their own hospitals."
See our special report on the Keogh findings in tomorrow's Lancashire Telegraph
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