South East London hospitals are among the worst for safety

From Spencer Drury, PPC for Greenwich & Woolwich

A report published this weekend placed four south east London hospitals among the worst in the country for patient safety.
The ‘Dr Foster Hospital Guide 2009’ revealed that the South London Healthcare NHS Trust (SLHT) which includes the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QE) in Woolwich and the Queen Mary’s Hospital, Sidcup was placed, along with Lewisham Hospital NHS Trust, in group 1 of 5 -  the poorest in the country.
The report made clear that there were serious concerns about care for stroke victims in SLHT because only 38% of people received a brain scan within 24 hours of having a stroke which made recovery less likely and subsequent physical and mental disabilities worse.
The report  also highlighted the lack of proper reporting procedures at the SLHT because they were one of only three trusts that could not say how many operations were cancelled in 2009. In addition the SLHT was one of only five trusts that could not state whether foreign objects had been left in patients or ‘wrong site’ surgery had taken place, because the figures were not available.
This omission is particularly concerning because foreign objects like scalpels or swabs were left in patients on 209 occasions nationally and patients had operations on the wrong parts of their bodies on 82 occasions nationally. We do not know how many more this would have been if SLHT figures were included.
Leader of the Conservatives in Greenwich Council and Parliamentary Candidate for Greenwich and Woolwich (where the QE is based) Cllr Spencer Drury said “I am afraid that this report reflects the anecdotal evidence that I am hearing from local residents, where in the last few months there has been a marked increase in the numbers contacting me to report poor treatment or cancelled operations.
 “Greenwich Conservatives have been raising concerns over the health cuts imposed by this government and the poor PFI deal Labour signed at the QE for years – I escorted Andrew Lansley (the Shadow Health Secretary) around the hospital in 2005. In my opinion, our Labour MPs and Council are simply failing to stand up for residents and this needs to change if we are going to improve the NHS in our area.
 “This is simply appalling news for people across Greenwich. We knew our schools were being let down by Labour but after 12 years of this government, it seems local hospitals are among the least safe in the country.”