Today the BBC reports that Colchester General Hospital’s cancer unit is being investigated by the police following reports of management bullying. Hospital workers have said that they have been “pressured or bullied” into changing patient data.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has found that there are some “inaccuracies” relating to waiting times for cancer treatment at the hospital. The hospital inspector is concerned is that patient lives have been put at risk.
The CQC first sent to Colchester in August and September after it received six complaints from patients about excessive waiting times for vital cancer treatment. Delays in treatment sometimes exceeded the minimum of 62 days and in one case exceed 100 days.
The initial investigated concluded that “The provider did not have adequate systems to maintain the safety and welfare of cancer patients” and the CQC found a total of 22 cases where patients did not receive treatment soon enough.
Professor Sir Mike Richards, the chief inspector of hospitals, has suggested that Colchester is put into special measures.
Because of the “serious failings identified”, the inspector reported the findings to the police for further investigation. Essex Polica are investigating at the request of the CQC.
Following the news of a criminal investigation NHS England has said that it is putting together a team of cancer specialists to help work with the hospital to ensure patients are safe and being well treated.
Dr Gordon Coutts apology
The CEO of Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust issued an apology: “We are truly sorry that in some cases cancer patients, their carers and families have not always received the high quality of care that they should have expected from our trust.”
“We found that the concerns raised by staff in relation to changes made to people’s cancer pathways were not appropriately managed, investigated or responded to by senior staff of the trust.
“Staff we spoke to provided examples of bullying and harassment by the management team in respect of changes of the cancer pathways.
“We found that managers did not show clear leadership in a way that ensured the safety and welfare of patients by providing a high quality of care.”
The Royal College of Nursing have said that they had received concerns from some nurses. Karen Webb, the regional director, has said that “It is right that the hospital is placed in special measures.”
While it is a concern that an Essex hospital is under investigation it is also important to remember that Colchester General Hospital treats around 6,000 people every year, and provides an excellent service to most patients.
News source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-24819973