Bedford Hospital Management Labelled 'Weak'

Hospital Leaders Say Report Is A "Sober Reminder" Of Previous Mistakes

09.01.2014

Problems in the paediatric department at Bedford Hospital in 2013 have been partially blamed on "weak" management.

An independent report has been carried out to shed more light on why some child healthcare services were suspended at the hospital last summer.

It emerged that junior doctors were removed from the paediatrics ward after concerns were raised about a lack of supervision.

The findings were published by Sally Williams - a consultant to the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, which has more than 15,000 members and is responsible for training and examining doctors who work with children.

Ms Williams found that the hospital had been told on three occasions in 2012 that trainees could be withdrawn, but senior staff failed to respond to these warnings.

The report stated: "There is evidence that clinical leadership within the department has been weak, lacking in vision and assertiveness."

Chief executive at Bedford Hospital Stephen Conroy said the study was a "sober reminder" of the mistakes and missed opportunities that led to the withdrawal of junior doctors.

However, he insisted that many changes have been made in the past six months and the hospital's director of medical education and director of workforce and organisational development will continue to lead an improvement plan.

"I feel deep personal regret that patients and local families suffered the consequences of our failure to act robustly enough to tackle issues around support for junior doctors in paediatrics before it reached crisis point," Mr Conroy commented, before "sincerely apologising" for the disruption caused.

He added that the "vast majority" of paediatric services are now back at the hospital and he hopes the Trust can learn from the past.

Having published its action plan, the Trust held a meeting for stakeholders yesterday (7 January) and is due to stage a board meeting today, where the report findings and proposals for the future will be discussed.

Expert Opinion
The number one priority is that all patients are receiving the best possible care, if this isn’t what is happening, then it’s clear something must be done to improve these circumstances.

“When there aren't the correct staff and supervision in place then mistakes can be made and failures may happen. This means it is the patients that suffer and this is highly unacceptable.

“It is good news however that the vast majority of paediatric services are back at the hospital and, as they say, let’s hope the Trust learns from earlier mistakes.”
Mandy Luckman, Partner