Manchester

Tameside Hospital: 'Urgent steps' needed at hospital under probe

Tameside Hospital
Image caption Two senior managers at Tameside Hospital Trust resigned on Wednesday

The government must take urgent action to improve care at a Greater Manchester hospital being probed for high death rates, said a patients' association.

Two senior bosses at Tameside Hospital resigned on Wednesday after it emerged two independent reviews criticised the hospital for poor patient care.

The Patients Association's Dr Mike Smith said "urgent steps to up the ante" at the hospital were needed.

Tameside is one of 14 hospitals under scrutiny for its high death rates.

'Up the ante'

Dr Smith claimed the association received a number of complaints in recent weeks about the hospital including one from a consultant who works there. He wrote to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and the Care Quality Commission with concerns on 14 June but is yet to receive replies.

He said: "Jeremy Hunt now needs to take pretty urgent steps to up the ante and see a proper quality of care is provided for the people of Manchester covered by this particular hospital.

"It would be good from our point of view - as the voice of the patients of the nation - to know that that is something that can happen."

He said concerns included the standards of nursing care for the elderly in particular "being way, way below what it should be", "increasing waits" and "services just not fit for purpose".

Dr Smith added: "It is now time severe action was taken."

Two reviews, seen by the Guardian newspaper, found problems in the hospital's A&E and medical assessment units.

One report, commissioned by Tameside Hospital, found up to eight A&E patients at a time were waiting in a corridor, with one left for seven hours. It said weak leadership had affected "patient outcomes".

The hospital said the reviews were commissioned because of staff concerns and it had responded with an action plan.

A Department of Health spokesman said it took any concerns about care failings seriously and always took action, including passing them to regulators for examination.

He said: "The government ordered a review into standards at Tameside in February and we expect the report will be published shortly.

"In addition, standards at Tameside are also being examined by CQC."

The news of the reports was followed by the announcement of the resignation of Christine Green, chief executive of Tameside Hospital Trust, and Medical Director Tariq Mahmood.

Take failings seriously

Image caption Dr Mike Smith said the government needs to "up the ante"

A trust spokesman said Mr Mahmood had offered his resignation three months ago, for family reasons, but the trust delayed its announcement until a replacement was found.

Ms Green, who has been chief executive since 1988, said she decided to resign last week after finalising plans for a "listening exercise" to hear what local people and groups such as GPs thought of the hospital.

She said it had become clear her position "was no longer helpful to the organisation".

A Department of Health spokesman said it took any concerns about care failings seriously and always took action, including passing them to regulators for examination.

He said: "The government ordered a review into standards at Tameside in February and we expect the report will be published shortly.

"In addition, standards at Tameside are also being examined by CQC."

In February, NHS medical director Prof Bruce Keogh announced Tameside was one of 14 hospitals that he would be investigating over its high death rates.

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