Last week the CQC published its latest report into Queens Hospital. People will remember that the CQC first went into Queens several years ago after some horrifying cases in the maternity unit where mothers and babies had actually died, and there were terrible problems in A&E too. There is no doubt that services at the hospital have improved a great deal since then, and I want to pay tribute to the doctors, nurses, and to the new leadership at the Trust – all of whom the CQC praises. However the report shows just how fragile that improvement is. There are still not enough properly trained staff, and concerns about patient safety remain. Last time I visited Queens I was dismayed by how many agency staff are employed, at enormous cost to the Trust which is already facing crippling financial trouble.
I am also deeply concerned that the hospital is failing to meet the 4 hour waiting target for A&E and for the time it takes between referral and treatment. This is a problem across the country, where under this Government A&E waiting times are the highest for a decade. We desperately need more investment in community health services to take the pressure off A&E, and to bring together health and social care so that we don’t have elderly people stuck in hospital beds when they could be cared for at home or in the community.
I promised at the election that health would continue to be my number one priority as your MP, and I am going to keep fighting for more GPs, better local health services, and to get Queen’s sorted out so that all patients get the quality of care they are entitled to expect.