Grant Shapps criticises health chiefs over Lister Hospital’s A&E

PUBLISHED: 15:14 15 February 2018 | UPDATED: 16:11 15 February 2018

Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps handing over his outline plan to Nick Carver, chief executive of the East and North Herts NHS Trust. Picture: Mr Shapps' office.

Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps handing over his outline plan to Nick Carver, chief executive of the East and North Herts NHS Trust. Picture: Mr Shapps' office.

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Welwyn Hatfield’s MP has taken a swipe at health chiefs over Lister Hospital’s A&E after launching his Make Healthcare Local campaign.

Grant Shapps’ initiative was launched in a bid to reintroduce more services to the area, including A&E, dementia care, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

But in a letter last week, the East and North Herts Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – which funds local healthcare – pointed to numerous treatments that are already provided locally.

It also said WGC’s New QEII Hospital sees almost twice as many people each day as the old A&E did in 2015.

Mr Shapps said: “Whilst health bosses are quick to respond to my Make Healthcare Local campaign by boasting that the QEII Urgent Care Centre sees a lot more people, they fail to mention that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) says that the only fully functioning A&E at the Lister Hospital is officially rated as ‘inadequate’.

“Indeed, the CQC goes further saying that ‘patients [are] not always treated with dignity and respect’.”

East and North Herts NHS Trust was forced to ask people to avoid Lister’s A&E unless gravely ill over the New Year period, during which it consistently had over 97 per cent of its beds full.

“I think that the problem is that whilst on paper health bosses imagine everything is working smoothly, the real-life experience of my constituents can be quite different,” Mr Shapps added.

An East and North Herts NHS Trust spokesman said the CQC inspection took place well over two years ago, and pointed to unannounced inspections that have happened since and found improvements.

“Following each such visit, the inspectors confirmed that the Lister team was making good progress,” he added.

“The trust has been notified that CQC inspectors will be returning again this year, following which all ratings will be reviewed formally.”

A CCG spokeswoman said it moved the old QEII’s A&E services to Lister in order to bring specialist staff together, maximising available resources to improve patients’ outcomes.

“Although this means that sometimes people have to travel a little further for their specialist treatment, the quality of that treatment, care and recovery rates have all improved,” she added.

Asked whether the current A&E service justifies that decision, the spokeswoman continued: “A&E waiting times at the Lister, although improving, are not doing so at the level we would like to see.

“So the CCG is closely monitoring performance to ensure that the trust meets the national 4-hour A&E operating standard in line with national requirements.”

*For Mr Shapps’ full response to the CCG letter, see next week’s paper, out Wednesday, February 21.

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