Stoke & Staffordshire

Stafford Hospital inquiry: Bullying claim at A&E

A culture of bullying and harassment existed in Stafford Hospital's A&E department, a doctor has told a public inquiry into failings there.

The inquiry is looking into the role of NHS regulatory bodies after a higher-than-expected number of deaths at the hospital between 2005 and 2008.

Dr Chris Turner, former lead consultant in A&E, said some staff were "in tears" after being pressured to meet targets.

He said it was the one of the worst departments he had seen in 25 years.

Some staff were threatened with redundancy if targets were not met and some staff would come out of bed management meetings in tears, he added.

He took over the role of clinical lead in late 2009 and told inquiry that he had set about trying to turn the culture around which included deliberately missing targets.

'Appalling' care

He said he discussed his concerns with a senior consultant who felt unable to do anything about it.

He said he also contacted the College of Emergency Medicine which said it was interested in his claims but did not get back to him. He also had "quite a lot" of contact with the NHS watchdog the Healthcare Commission.

The Healthcare Commission eventually wrote a letter to the hospital's former chief executive Martin Yeates raising concerns about the hospital, the hearing was told.

Dr Turner said after that things changed, and Mr Yeates seemed "surprised" as to "how dire the perception both internally and externally of the department was".

In 2009 the Healthcare Commission said the hospital's "appalling" emergency care resulted in patients dying needlessly.

The public inquiry into what happened started in November.

By mid-December, after six weeks of evidence, BBC Radio Stoke reported that between April and October the inquiry had cost just over £1.4m.

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