A&E care: better than Mid Staffs
Monday 18th March 2013, 2:38PM GMT.
LATE on Friday, Health and Social Services rushed out a media release saying that accident and emergency care at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital was substantially better than in many parts of England.
It was a smokescreen of course because the department had got wind that this newspaper was considering publishing details from two critical reports that highlighted the way A&E care is delivered potentially leaves patients exposed to risk and costs the taxpayer an arm and a leg.
As islanders now know – no thanks to HSSD or the GP practices – there are serious concerns about what happens in the emergency department and in the hospital at night.
Instead of acknowledging this, HSSD has now tried to mislead people with its Friday release into believing that everything is under control.
It is not.
An analysis of its progress report shows that nothing has changed when it comes to satisfying the main criticisms over cost or quality and consistency of cover.
And benchmarking Guernsey with English hospitals when the Mid Staffs and other scandals are fresh in the mind of islanders says much about the seriousness of the local situation.
HSSD’s alleged activity has been triggered because the critical reports are in the hands of States members – but not the public, who paid for them – and so the Health minister and his team are now in the spotlight.
Are the concerns of the expert reviewers being taken seriously?
After the College of Emergency Medicine had completed its work and warned about qualification issues, the GP company providing A&E care was still advertising in the BMJ that relevant experience would be beneficial ‘but is not essential’.
It was not a reassuring response to a serious situation that HSSD knew existed, which is one reason why it commissioned the reports in the first place.
Yet again, however, matters of significant public interest are kept under wraps and when what islanders should have been told two years ago does eventually dribble out, government’s knee-jerk reaction is simply to be economical with the truth.
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