Hemel MP says hospital trust is ‘broken and not fit for purpose’

Mike Penning
Mike Penning

Mike Penning MP has spoken out after West Herts Hospitals were branded ‘inadequate’ by inspectors and put into special measures.

On Thursday, the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC’s) chief inspector of hospitals recommended that West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust be put into special measures.

The decision follows a negative CQC inspection of the trust, which runs Watford General, St Albans and Hemel Hempstead hospitals.

Mr Penning, MP for Hemel Hempstead, said: “Whilst extremely disappointed that our hospitals are in such a state, I am delighted that the chief inspector has recognised, what we have known for a long time, that the West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust is broken and not fit for purpose.

“We all predicted that it wouldn’t work at the reorganisation when most of our acute services were moved from Hemel Hempstead to Watford. Our predictions have sadly proved true.

“It is clear that the Trust has lacked adequate leadership and has been badly managed.”

He added: “There are too many unempowered managers and not enough frontline staff.

“The Trust is not big enough to support such a large management structure.

“By placing the Trust in special measures, I hope that the leadership, maladministration and inadequate resources will be exposed and then dealt with.

“The frontline staff do a fantastic job and they have been badly let down by a failing management structure and maladministration.

“It is just not acceptable that such dedicated and caring staff should suffer, as the CQC state, with “low morale, low levels of satisfaction, high levels of stress and work overload.”

Mr Penning also revealed that he is regularly contacted by front-line staff who are concerned about the state of the organisation, saying they feel “let down and frightened about their jobs”, with some even saying they have been bullied by the management.

He said: “Quite simply, this appalling situation cannot be allowed to continue and I firmly hope that by placing the Trust in special measures we will be able to see a new beginning and a brighter future.

“It is my hope that the NHS leadership and the local Clinical Commissioning Group will at last realise that the Watford hospital facility and location are just not fit for purpose and that we need a new state of the art full service hospital in a new location more accessible to the entire area of West Hertfordshire.”