Is Havering’s hospitals trust really improving? MPs want to hear from you

�A group of Labour MPs have joined forces to unearth testimonials of patients at Queen’s and King George hospitals in time for the next major report from a health watchdog.

In six to eight weeks, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) will publish the findings of a recent inspection looking at the quality of care being delivered at the hospitals.

Labour MPs Margaret Hodge, Jon Cruddas and Mike Gapes are asking constituents to approach them in a bid to establish whether there is a feeling that improvements have been made.

A series of shocking failings in patient care – particularly in maternity services – led to the CQC announcing a major probe into Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the two hospitals, last summer.

‘At risk’

The first findings, published in October, reported “some signs of improvement” but concluded “patients remain at risk of poor care”.

The trust insisted “enormous and wide-ranging changes” have been made since then.

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Mrs Hodge, MP for Barking, said she “expects to see substantial improvements”, as six months have passed.

She added: “I think it’s got a little bit better in recent months at Queen’s but what we want to know now is whether that is really people’s experience.”

But Mr Gapes, MP for Ilford South, said his office has recently seen a significant increase in complaints regarding elderly care at both hospitals.

He said: “Constituents complain to me on a regular basis about their treatment.”

Mr Cruddas, Rainham and Dagenham MP, added he was “hopeful” the report would show improvements in maternity and A&E at Queen’s but added that improvements may “come at the expense of King George”.

Meanwhile Conservative Andrew Rosindell, MP for Romford, said he still receives the “odd complaint about older people” but added issues are “isolated and not as bad as two or three years ago”. He added: “I think things have improved under Averil Dongworth’s leadership – but it’s a huge job.”

Lee Scott, Conservative MP for Ilford North, said elderly care was an “area of concern”, adding he was dealing with five or six cases, mostly at Queen’s.

He added: “Are they [the trust] improving? It’s hard to say because you’re often dealing with issues that happened six to nine months ago. But doctors and nurses are doing a good job.”

Chief executive of BHRUT Averil Dongworth said the trust “always encourages feedback from patients”.

She said: “Maternity services have been overhauled, with new midwives, nurses, consultants and anaesthetists recruited.

“We offer one of the best midwife-to-birth ratios in London and Queen’s maternity has one of the highest levels of senior doctor cover in the country.”

Elderly care was praised by CQC for “high standard of nutrition” and “dignity” for patients, she said.

Six project nurses have been recruited to look at care of dementia patients and the issue of falls among the elderly.

The hospitals trust is “moving in the right direction,” Ms Dongworth added.