Tring GP defends Stoke Mandeville and says: ‘Watford General is the real worry’

View - Main entrance sign to Stoke Mandeville Hospital
View - Main entrance sign to Stoke Mandeville Hospital

A GP says Stoke Mandeville Hospital may not be as bad as a recent report suggests.

But Tony Hall-Jones, who runs The New Surgery in Tring, was not so complimentary about Watford General Hospital.

He said he was surprised when he heard it was not included in the report by Sir Bruce Keogh into hospitals where the death rate is higher than average.

The probe investigated 14 hospital trusts, including the Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust – which is responsible for Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury.

The probe reported concerns about the Trust’s managers, low staffing levels, poor morale, a ‘blame culture’ and a lack of empathy over patient complaints.

But Dr Hall-Jones said: “I get rather more complaints about Watford General Hospital than I do about Stoke Mandeville. Considering the majority of my referrals are to Stoke Mandeville, they cannot be very far off Stoke Mandeville. I was surprised Watford was not on the list.”

Dr Hall-Jones said the ‘overwhelming majority’ of his patients have received good care from Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

He said: “In a perverse sense, the hospital will become safer overnight, because it will be subject to more scrutiny.”

He said complaints made to him directly have suggested Watford General Hospital has more of a problem with overcrowding and inadequate nursing provision than Stoke Mandeville.

Tring town councillor John Allen also stood up for the Aylesbury hospital.

He said: “I and my wife have been to Stoke Mandeville on many occasions over the last few years and have no reasons to complain.

“The treatment we have received was excellent.”

West Herts Hospitals Trust – which is responsible for Watford General Hospital – said it treats more than 600,000 people a year and only a small minority complain.