West Herts hospitals will learn from the failures of Mid Staffs with whistleblower’s book

The woman at the head of Hemel Hempstead, Watford and St Albans hospitals says there is much to learn from the recent scandal surrounding the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust, which was exposed with the help of a whistleblower.

West Herts NHS Trust chief executive Samantha Jones ordered a dozen copies of the new book From Ward to Whitehall by Julie Bailey, which reveals details of the poor standards of care and high death rates at the now infamous Midlands hospitals.

New West Herts NHS Trust Chief Executive Samantha Jones.

New West Herts NHS Trust Chief Executive Samantha Jones.

A full scale investigation into practices across the Trust was launched in 2008, and results of a further inquiry into the hospitals’ failings were released in 2010.

Ms Jones has been so overwhelmed with interest from hospital staff in reading about Ms Bailey’s own experiences with her mother, who was a patient at Stafford Hospital, that she has doubled the order.

She said: “There’s no doubt that Julie Bailey played a key role in exposing the failings at Mid Staffordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and her book is an extremely powerful and moving account of her experience and that of her late mother.

“As a Trust, we are working with our doctors, nurses, healthcare assistants and other staff to ensure we learn from Mid Staffordshire, the subsequent public inquiry and the experience of the patients and families that were let down by the organisation.

“I’ve encouraged all of our staff, including the Trust Board, to read Julie’s book.”

The Trust has also invited the activist, who has set up a campaign group called Cure the NHS, to speak at an internal staff training event in late September.

The Gazette reported last week that results of a patient survey taken between April and June showed more than 90 per cent of patients at West Herts hospitals would recommend their care to friends and family, but Ms Jones said this would not make the Trust complacent.

A major new review also says the deaths of patients at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust should act as a catalyst for improvements in the NHS.

Changing the culture of the NHS will “trump” any new rules and strategies, said the study, from Professor Don Berwick, a world expert in patient safety. Watch the video above for more.