NHS CRISIS – hits Chase Farm, North Middx & Grantham

Locked-out Gate Gourmet workers lobbying the TUC Gongress last month demanding action to win their reinstatement
Locked-out Gate Gourmet workers lobbying the TUC Gongress last month demanding action to win their reinstatement

The leading orthopaedic surgeon at Chase Farm Hospital in Enfield has handed in his notice after 30 years in the NHS, because ‘all managers care about is not breaching targets’.

Consultant surgeon Mr David Grace said he was told to treat routine bunion operations ahead of elderly emergency patients with fractured hips.

Despite his protests that elderly patients awaiting hip operations were suffering and gradually dying, Grace claims the trust chief executive, Averil Dongworth, told him to treat waiting list patients first, so the hospital met its targets.

Grace refused and subsequently became aware he was being investigated.

Grace says: ‘All that managers care about is not breaching the targets.

‘There are elderly patients with fractured hips being gradually killed because doctors are being told to treat waiting list patients first.’

Referring to his conflict with management, he adds: ‘These elderly patients were were dying of pre-deep vein thrombosis and pressure sores and were losing the will to live because they were in so much pain.

‘Since then, the system has got worse.

‘The other day, someone had to wait for eight days to get to theatre for an emergency fracture.

‘It should be 48 hours at most.’

At the nearby North Middlesex Hospital, there are plans to cut at least 19 beds and all of the staff have been told the hospital has to make cuts of £9 million.

Nevertheless, the hospital will be expected to take extra patients under plans to shut the Chase Farm Accident and Emergency unit.

Meanwhile, the senior nurse at the Accident and Emergency at Grantham Hospital in Lincolnshire has been suspended after a letter to managers in which he described conditions at the casualty department as being like a ‘nightmare’.

Paul Lewis, who has worked in the NHS for over 30 years, said the situation was ‘shocking and inexcusable’.

He said: ‘If you closed your eyes and thought this was happening in a Third World country, you would be very saddened by the events.’

Paul Lewis was sent home pending a misconduct hearing for leaving the premises on duty, after he recounted how he had gone to a nursing home to treat a patient with a urinary infection – to avoid his being admitted to Grantham.

He later travelled in an ambulance to a hospital in Boston, with a patient who was being transferred from Grantham in order to free up a bed for a more seriously ill patient.