A Labour Party rejection of investigations into hospitals deemed to have had similar problems as those within the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) has been criticised by Lincoln’s Member of Parliament, Karl McCartney MP. Karl McCartney MP has said it is proof that a Labour Government would never have had allowed last year’s Keogh Review into patient safety at Lincoln County Hospital.
It follows a rejection by the devolved Labour Government in Wales to a plea by NHS England Medical Director, Sir Bruce Keogh, to investigate high death rates at Welsh hospitals. Yet high mortality rates in English hospitals led the Conservative-led Government to setup the Keogh Review, headed by Sir Bruce, to investigate 14 NHS Trusts including ULHT.
In June 2013, the Keogh Review recommended 57 different ways that ULHT could improve the quality of its services. In July 2013, ULHT attended a risk summit to discuss the findings of the Keogh Review and to agree an action plan the most urgent recommendations. While the Trust takes forward its plans to address all of Sir Bruce’s recommendations, they have been placed in ‘special measures’.
Karl McCartney MP said:
“The Government was open and honest about our long-term plan to improve the services at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust. The Health Secretary, Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, set up the Keogh Review because he wanted the care for local communities in Lincoln and Lincolnshire to improve. Sir Bruce Keogh is a highly respected and knowledgeable medic whose views should be taken seriously.
“This is proof that a Labour Government in Westminster would have washed its hands of mortality rates at both Lincoln County Hospital and our other hospitals in Lincolnshire and continued to allow patient care to suffer. It is in the DNA of the Labour Party not to accept any criticism of public services whatever the cost to people.
“Indeed, under the last Labour Government when my immediate predecessor as Member of Parliament for Lincoln, Labour’s Gillian Merron was a Health Minister, it seems plenty of dirt was swept under a pretty big NHS carpet with respect to the ULHT and especially with regard to the former Chief Executive of ULHT, Gary Walker. Gillian Merron and her Labour colleagues kept very quiet for what can only be described as politically expedient reasons and the short sighted need to protect the Labour Party, rather than NHS patients.”