Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson calls on Health Secretary

Bill Esterson



Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson has called on Tory Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to investigate the Care Quality Commission, after the health watchdog produced a report into Alder Hey and Aintree Hospitals.

The MP said the report, which was produced by the CQC into 'NHS acute trust banding', came as a shock following earlier reports which had given the two hospitals a clean bill of health. He said he wanted to know how the commission had come to its conclusions.

The report places the Alder Hey and Aintree University Hospital NHS Trust in a "high risk" category.

But Aintree and Alder Hey were both given the all clear in recent reports.

Sefton Central MP BIll Esterson said the findings of the report need to be investigated.

Bill said: "People at Alder Hey and at Aintree are baffled by this report. If the hospitals were both inspected recently with no major issues of concern being raised, how can they both now be placed in the 'at high risk' category?

"The CQC makes clear that this report isn't about clinical care. But it is causing great concern. Anyone reading that the CQC has placed Alder Hey and Aintree in a 'high risk' category will certainly be concerned when it comes to using those hospitals. But I would question whether that is right and more to the point I would question whether it was wise given the concern it is likely to cause to patients.

"The CQC has found itself under a lot of pressure following its recent failings, particularly in relation to Mid Staffordshire. They say that one of the factors in placing a hospital or a trust in a 'high risk' category is when a whistleblower makes an accusation. That has happened in this report but without a full investigation of whistlebowers' accusations being carried out. So in other words, according to the CQC, you are guilty until proven innocent.

"Any evidence of risk at our hospitals needs to be fully investigated, that is absolutely right but it should happen without jumping to any conclusions. It is wrong to conclude that every hospital is in the same boat as Mid Staffs.
"The staff at our hospitals here on Merseyside do a great job and work very hard. We need to support their efforts and support them in caring for patients.

"If there are concerns, they have to be investigated thoroughly but we have to be very clear not to undermine the great work that most NHS staff do often under great pressure.

Bill said he was concerned that there was a clear attempt to undermine the NHS by the government.

Bill said: "This Tory-led Government has launched an ideological assault on our NHS. They are undermining the service as a way of preparing the ground for wholesale privatisation.

"Deep government cuts to the NHS are part of that ideological agenda. They wasted £3billion on a top-down re-organisation that no one voted for and when that money should have been spent on patient care.

"The Tories (and Lib-Dems) hope that by publicly running the NHS down, they will get public opinion onside to make the changes they want, which is to sell off the NHS to the highest bidders.

"I am not prepared to allow that to happen. I will be making sure that there are high standards of patient care at hospitals serving my constituents and I will be putting pressure on the government to reverse its privatisation policies which are undermining the very core of the National Health Service and including putting huge pressure on our A&Es across the country.

"I will be raising my concerns about this report in Parliament and demanding answers.

"One thing is for certain, Jeremy Hunt and his government colleagues have some very serious questions to answer."


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