Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Is the CQC supporting A&E closures?

The Mail on Sunday is running a piece here http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2389145/New-A-E-shock-units-face-axe-tough-new-hospital-safety-regime.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490
This reports an interview with David Prior, the Chairman of the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The article contains the following:

“Mr Prior thought the CQC’s beefed-up inspection regime, which includes doctors and nurses from elsewhere and patients going into hospitals, would find that some emergency departments were unsafe. This may drive further reconfiguration, driven by patient safety, not driven by financial considerations,’ he said. Some hospitals simply did not have enough senior doctors to provide safe A&E care. ‘If you take A&E, the availability of consultant doctors 24/7 – or for at least 16 hours a day – is really important,’ he added. ‘Now it’s bloody hard for a small hospital to provide that kind of cover, because it’s so expensive. I think the reality is that some smaller A&Es will find it difficult.’ He went on: ‘If we are going to get reconfigurations in the NHS, I think it’s much more acceptable if it’s driven by patient safety and quality, than by financial reasons.’ Among the six ‘high-risk’ trusts to be inspected soon is the Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS Trust in Essex. It runs A&Es at Queen’s Hospital in Romford and King George Hospital in Goodmayes, the latter due to close in 2015. ENDs

 The report concerns me because it seems Mr Prior may have pre-judged what needs to happen at BHRUT. Closing KGH A&E and sending staff to Queens will not make the service better because thousands of extra patients will be going to Queens. Neil Zammett’s proposal of extra staff and beds per his blog here http://savekinggeorgehospital.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/a-at-queens-where-will-new-nhs-take-us.html are a far better way forward.

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