Hospitals have turned a corner

Burnley General Hospital
Burnley General Hospital
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Last summer, Professor Sir Bruce Keogh’s review into the quality of care and treatment provided by East Lancashire Hospitals made for uncomfortable reading.

Sadly, as someone who has helped many residents with health complaints, the reports finding that the hospitals’ complaints process was poor and lacking a compassionate approach did not surprise me.

That report marked the start of an intensive improvement programme for our local Hospitals, about which I have been kept regularly updated.

On Wednesday, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) published its review into East Lancashire Hospitals following the Chief Inspector of Hospital’s visit in April.

The report shows that our local hospital trust still ‘requires improvement’, but crucially, the CQC has recommended that the trust is released from ‘special measures’. This is great news for the trust and is testament to the hard work and commitment of its staff.

Given what the Keogh review said about capacity issues at Blackburn Hospital, serious questions still have to be asked about the decision to downgrade Burnley Hospital’s A&E Department in 2007 under the last Government. Since I was elected we have secured a £9million investment into providing a new urgent care centre at Burnley, but it is clear that our hospitals are still affected by this ill-judged decision.

Every year our NHS transforms the lives of millions of people and we should be deeply proud of this, but when things fall short of what patients and their families expect, the NHS should be open and honest. It is clear that in the past some hospital bosses have tried to avoid negative publicity whenever possible and this consideration has been put ahead of patients’ dignity and respect. I am pleased to see East Lancashire hospitals have now turned an important corner, but more work still needs to be done.