Anger over hospital ‘excuses’ over high death rates

Man eating pie as diets laden with pies, sausages, and ready meals can lead to an early death. Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Man eating pie as diets laden with pies, sausages, and ready meals can lead to an early death. Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

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Burnley councillors have voiced their concerns about the state of the town’s hospital care.

At a meeting of the borough council a motion moved by Lib-Dem group leader Coun. Margaret Lishman was given the unanimous backing of the council chamber.

She said, in light of the Keogh Report, which highlighted failings at East Lancashire Hospitals Trust, it was important to note the council’s position.

And she accused health bosses of previously making excuses for the Trust’s high death rates.

“Liberal Democrats thought it important to put this motion to council to record the position of our local hospital services and to sincerely hope the service is capable of recovering and providing the best standards of care for all of us who have to use their services.

“As we know, East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust was reviewed by Sir Bruce Keogh because it has one of the worst death rates in the country. You may also know the death rates have been a cause for concern for a number of years and the standard answer from medical professionals, if asked, has always been that the death rates are high because of the levels of deprivation.

“Well now we know this has been an excuse not a reason.”

She highlighted the high-performing Newcastle Trust, with which East Lancashire has now been paired in a bid to drive up standards, was also located in a deprived area of the country.

“When the report was published it was noticeable the hospital did not apologise publicly.

“There is a culture within the hospital from the very top of the organisation that seeks to find excuses for the problems not to tackle them head on,” she added.

Coun. Margaret Brindle said the recent Care Quality Commission report, which also found the Trust lacking in providing patients with dignity and respect, was also cause for concern.

“Care and compassion don’t cost a great deal,” she said.

Labour group leader Coun. Julie Cooper, who seconded the motion, said: “The Labour group has no hesitation in supporting this motion. We will be watching very closely to see what improvements are made.”

Coun. Cooper said Trust chief executive Mr Mark Brearley was due to meet councillors in the coming weeks.