By Dr Minh Alexander NHS whistleblower and former consultant psychiatrist, 14 June 2017
The Care Quality Commission is parading East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust as an example of success and improvement.
CQC has issued a glossy report, Driving Improvement, to bang its drum and spread good news:
The foreword by Mike Richards Chief Inspector, complete with beaming photo, starts with these assertions:
“Drawing on findings from inspection reports, CQC’s 2016 State of Care report concluded that effective leadership and a positive, open culture are important drivers of change. In hospitals rated as good or outstanding, the trust boards had worked hard to create a culture where staff felt valued and empowered to suggest improvements and question poor practice.”
The report says: “We set out to explore what eight trusts had done to become ‘well-led’ trusts.”. East Lancashire was one of these eight trusts.
East Lancashire was one of fourteen so-called ‘Keogh’ trusts and was placed into special measures in 2013 due to high mortality rates.
East Lancashire was rated ‘Good’ overall, and ‘Good’ on Well Led by CQC on 4 January 2017.
This is despite the following facts:
- East Lancashire sacked and referred NHS surgeon whistleblower Aditya Agrawal to the GMC, with great scandal and many questions in parliament, some as recently as September 2016.
- East Lancashire super-gagged 109 of its staff with settlement agreements that prevented staff from revealing the very existence of these agreements, also leading to questions in parliament.
- East Lancashire helped to recycle the now convicted fraudster, Paula Vasco-Knight, a former NHS CEO whom an Employment Tribunal found had victimised whistleblowers, with much scandal and also criticism by Robert Francis as “oppressive behaviour” to which no tolerance should be afforded.
The local media reported that Vasco-Knight was hired at a rate of £1000 per day
East Lancashire disclosed via FOI that the total cost incurred by the taxpayer from the trust giving Vasco-Knight a leg up, over 2014/15 and 2015/16, was £248K.
There is not one word in CQC’s glowing report on East Lancashire about learning from the Agrawal whistleblower case, the 109 super-gags or East Lancashire’s role in recycling Vasco-Knight.
But then, the Health Service Journal listed East Lancashire’s CEO Kevin Mc Gee as a finalist in its Chief Executive of The Year awards in November 2016, so all must be well:
Readers may remember that Paula Vasco-Knight was previously much feted by the NHS establishment and also received a CBE in the 2014 New Year’s honour list: