UNISON, the UK’s largest public sector trade union, today called for Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS foundation trust to be taken back under NHS control, and called for a public enquiry into patient care at the hospital.
The call follows unusually high death rates at the hospital, and Care Quality Commission (CQC) investigators uncovering poor hygiene standards, and out of date equipment still in use.
UNISON Head of Health, Karen Jennings, said:
“These reports are a tragedy for patients, their families, and for staff working at the hospital.
“It is cold comfort to UNISON that we have been raising problems about the hospital’s privatised cleaning contract for the last six years. We know the cleaning contract was badly drawn up, that there are not enough cleaners, and that those working do not get enough training.
“It is a disgrace that Monitor, the foundation trust regulator, has not stepped in before now. Just under two months ago it rated the hospital good on patient care. This is another example of the failure of Monitor, whose time would be spent more effectively if it acted less as a cheerleader for foundation trusts, and focussed more on its proper role of regulating in the interests of patients.
“The Health Act which received royal assent this month, gives the Secretary of State the power to take a failing foundation trust hospital back into direct NHS management. This new power must now be used.
“To help restore public confidence in the hospital, we need a public enquiry, to give staff, patients, and their families the opportunity to help improve standards of care.”