Monday, December 31, 2012

Is CQC to make a finding?

The following appears in an Ilford Recorder Story regarding a CQC visit to Queens earlier this month:

 “The CQC will not make any recommendations in the report but the Department of Health is expected to take its findings into account when finalising the transfer of maternity services.”

 My hope is that the CQC will make a finding into whether the proposed closure of KGH maternity is safe. When Ofsted visits a school, it makes a public report available which contains findings about the quality of the education there. It seems reasonable to expect the CQC to do something similar regarding the closure process for KGH. Has BHRUT got the beds and staff in place at the units to look after the women safely who would have gone to KGH?

 We know the CQC is at Queens, but they also should go, have they already not have gone to, the other units who will be affected by the changes to make sure they can cope with the closure. If the closure does go ahead next year, my hope is that a cross party campaign will be set up for the return of maternity provision. A borough heading towards a population of 300,000 deserves a maternity unit.

Whether the CQC makes a finding about the safety of the closure of KGH maternity will set a precedent for what happens with the proposed A&E closure.

 The Recorder story is here.

Friday, December 21, 2012

NHS responds to Photo Shoot

Andy, Thank you very much for your email. response in the New Year, as the CQC have been in to visit our Maternity Department recently and we are awaiting their draft report. Once this has been received, I will be able to answer your questions more fully. Averil Dongworth Chief Executive

Will the CQC act over KGH?

Thank you to everyone attending today. I have written to Averil Dongworth, Chief Executive of BHRUT asking if the CQC will be signing off the proposed closure of KGH maternity as safe.

Good to see a Recorder photographer there.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Mail on Sunday Press Link

The Link below is a recent Mail on Sunday story which mentions KGH. The December 9 paper had a picture of Iain Duncan Smith and others outisde Ilford Town Hall.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Neil Zammett on Maternity changes

The current position

 The NELC cluster PCT is following the plan agreed by their Board on 19th September 2012. This involves a number of “gateway” checks on the readiness of the units in East London (Queen’s, Barking, Newham, Whipps and the Homerton) culminating in an update on progress and a recommendation on the closure of the KGH obstetric unit at their January 2013 Board meeting. The safety and quality checks are being led by Christina McKenzie an external consultant. There is no reference to the involvement of CQC that I can find in their papers.

 Part of the plan is changing the catchment areas for units in November 2012 so that around 1000 maternity bookings transfer from BHRUT, largely Redbridge residents, to Newham and a similar number from BHRUT to Whipps. A new component to the plan is the transfer of 1000 bookings from Whipps to the Homerton to “make room” for the women from BHRUT. Because of the obvious “lead time” on maternity booking need to be transferred in advance of expected births. To my knowledge there is no formal, explicit statement by CQC either in terms of a letter, electronic communication or minute from a meeting which would correspond to the statement in the Secretary of State (SOS) letter. There are qualified statements in general support of the plan in their concluding report on their special investigation of BHRUT, but their conclusions also include cautionary statements about the sustainability of perceived improvements.

My views

 I think the SOS letter has highlighted an important point which is CQC assurance on service quality. I think it is singularly unfortunate that the letter was delayed in circulation for almost a month and this does give us less time to act. Members may wish to ask why such an important communication was delayed for so long. I had assumed that CQC had been in touch with the SOS office and given the necessary assurances but clearly this is not the case. I also assumed that CQC would have had a formal meeting, or exchange of correspondence, with NELC at which their approval would have been recorded. On the face of it this again appears not to have happened. We have therefore the very serious situation where the SOS believes that nothing happens until CQC have given an assurance while NELC have changed catchment areas without this assurance. I would also say that there is a point at which the decision becomes a fait accompli and attempting to reverse it becomes riskier than proceeding. Obviously it is right that CQC approval should be sought before this point. In the circumstances I believe it is vital that we seek urgent clarification from the SOS office of their understanding of the position of CQC, particularly as patient safety is involved.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Correction to previous post

The NHS have asked me to correct the date in the previous post. KGH maternity is proposed to close in late March 2013, not February 2013 as I stated earlier. My apologies for the error. NHS email follows

Thanks Andy.

 I’m sorry this letter has caused confusion. It doesn’t relate to the proposed closure of King George to maternity deliveries in late March 2013, but relates to the transfer of a small number of mothers-to-be to Whipps Cross, part of Barts Health. These women generally live closest to Whipps Cross, and in an area that will be served by Barts Health community midwives. Only women in the early stages of pregnancy, due after 1 st February, are being asked to transfer, which is where the 1 st February date came from. This is part of the commissioner-led maternity plans, and if you have any queries on this, you may find it most helpful to contact Zoe at NHS North East London and the City in the first instance.

 Kind regards,


 Imogen Shillito Director of Communications