Gorleston: Health Secretary Visits James Paget

After criticism from some MP's over areas of patient care at the James Paget in Gorleston, the Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has been visiting the hospital.

It had failed to meet standards in things like patient nutrition and dignity on two recent inspections, however the hospital says big changes have already been made since then and that it will continue to keep a high level of care.

The chairman, John Hemming, already announced to hospital staff and governors his decision to resign earlier this week.

At the time he said: "I am proud to have been a very small part of what the James Paget has achieved over the past eight years.  Patient safety and patient care has always been at the centre of our agenda and we have seen advances in medicine and surgery that have improved outcomes and life expectations. 

We have a workforce that is dedicated and professional, that strives to do the best for patients.  We became the first NHS Foundation Trust in Norfolk and Suffolk and have a very supportive Governors Council, representing our Members' interests.  As a founder member of the UEA Medical School we provide around a third of medical training, helping staff and patients.

I am standing down as Chairman as I am seen politically as a hindrance to improving patient care for the vulnerable and elderly, which is unacceptable to me.  I hope that my successor will be able to accelerate the improvements we are making to ensure the Trust achieves all the required outcomes for CQC inspection.

The adverse publicity is affecting the Trust, causing patients and the local population to have unnecessary concerns about the quality of care in the Paget. The Trust has an excellent low mortality rate, in the top 14 trusts in England, registers highly in inpatient surveys and on our local real time patient feedback tools and receives many letters from visitors praising the level of care and comparing it favourably to their local hospital. It has been a privilege and an honour to serve the Trust."

Andrew Lansley told Heart, "I think the public in Yarmouth and Lowestoft should be confident that this continues to be a hospital that will provide them with good and safe care. I think that they should also be confident that we are going to make sure, the Trust here, myself, the Care Quality Commission and others, that the deficiencies which have been identified are going to be addressed. I don't think we're at that place yet, I think there's more to be done, but I am confident not least from my point of view, that having been here, if there are changes that are required to make that happen, they will happen."

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