Doctor's shocking claims over Blackburn and Burnley hospitals

CONCERN: A senior doctor claims they are worried over the conditions caused by the amalgamation of the Blackburn and Burnley hospitals

CONCERN: A senior doctor claims they are worried over the conditions caused by the amalgamation of the Blackburn and Burnley hospitals

First published in News Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by

A SENIOR doctor at East Lancashire’s hospitals has made a shocking series of claims over conditions faced by patients and staff.

The clinician, who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of losing their job, said the merging of Blackburn and Burnley’s facilities under the Meeting Patients’ Needs programme had been “a disaster”, resulting in overworked staff and patients being put in danger.

The doctor was so concerned over the issues they made contact with hospital campaigner Councillor Gordon Birtwistle, leader of Burnley Council, who put the medic in touch with the Lancashire Telegraph.

Trust bosses, who defended the treatment received by patients at the hospitals, criticised the doctor for making the concerns public rather than reporting the problems to them.

The doctor, who said they were “lucky never to have had to be a patient”, claimed:

• Patients were not being treated as well because doctors were spending more time travelling between the hospitals;

• Doctors could not see critically ill patients regulary because they were spread across two hospital sites;

• At least one operation a week was having to be cancelled because of lost notes or overfilled wards;

• Patients were being put at risk because of increased ambulance journey times between Burnley and Blackburn;

• Wards at the hospitals were still dirty despite the recent government-sponsored “Deep Clean”.

The doctor, who has long experience in hospital medicine, said: “Most of the doctors think merging the facilities has made things much worse.

“I have critically ill patients but because they are spread across both sites I only get to see them two days a week.

"For the five days I don’t see them and they are looked after by doctors who don’t know their histories as well as their named consultant so they don’t notice little changes that add up to serious deterioration.

“Every week, we have to cancel operations because records are not there, or equipment is not there, or we have not got an after-care bed available.

"Often we have the most recent notes, but nothing long-term so you can’t look at incidents from the past that could be affecting them now.

“So you have to send them home and have them back for another appointment, which could have been taken by someone else if we had been able to have a proper consultation the first time.”

The doctor said the decision to close Burnley’s accident and emergency department had resulted in increased risk for patients.

“Patients do deteriorate further on their way in to Blackburn from the Burnley end - that may not come out in the immediate death figures, but more people will die within the first 24 hours or end up with permanent problems or face a much longer and more difficult recovery, simply because they were left longer to get worse before they were treated properly in a hospital,” the doctor said.

“We are all under pressure. We spend all our time going up and down the motorway to see different patients, and there are big problems with capacity.

"If there is no room for a patient on the medical ward, for instance, they will be sent to a surgical ward, where the staff have little experience in dealing with medical patients so care is compromised.

“Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale has a population of 250,000, which the government’s own advisors say is more than enough to support a fully-functioning hospital.

“Taking it all into Blackburn means the service is too big to be able to provide personal service and keep everything running as it should.

"All the main services should be on both sites so that they can be managed in smaller teams.”

The doctor was unhappy about the recent deep clean carried out at the hospital saying it was just a ‘propaganda exercise’.

“It all comes back to the main problem in the NHS and in Lancashire in particular - the general trend is that health professionals have less and less say on how things are run and that means patients suffer,” the doctor said.

Coun Birtwistle said: "This person - a senior clinician - has put themselves at great personal risk to approach both myself and the Press.

"This person is a very experienced doctor who is giving their opinion, but is risking their job by doing so.”

Comments (11)

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11:22am Mon 28 Jul 08

antoni23 says...

How can Pct say no patents is at risk when BMA and NHS bigwigs say every second counts in emergency. Who is not telling the truth BMA/NHS or our local PCT. The doctors above are experienced to know when a new system does not work. What is time difference between Burnley Hospital and royal blackburn at peak time. I did the trip and it took me 35 minutes to get to the hospital after i passed burnley.
How can Pct say no patents is at risk when BMA and NHS bigwigs say every second counts in emergency. Who is not telling the truth BMA/NHS or our local PCT. The doctors above are experienced to know when a new system does not work. What is time difference between Burnley Hospital and royal blackburn at peak time. I did the trip and it took me 35 minutes to get to the hospital after i passed burnley. antoni23
  • Score: 0

1:04pm Mon 28 Jul 08

jenjolly says...

after going into anaphalatic shock during gall bladder op i was put on high dependancy for 24hrs and told i may have to wear a medi band to show what i was allergic to after 5mth wait for results i got in touch with surgeons secretary to be told they dont know why i havent been called back? they would send for my file.which after 8wks wait was told it had been lost so i ask the question WHY WHEN I LIVE IN BURNLEY MY SURGEON IS IN ROSSENDALE AND MY FILE IS AT BLACKBURN(WELL SHOULD BE)
after going into anaphalatic shock during gall bladder op i was put on high dependancy for 24hrs and told i may have to wear a medi band to show what i was allergic to after 5mth wait for results i got in touch with surgeons secretary to be told they dont know why i havent been called back? they would send for my file.which after 8wks wait was told it had been lost so i ask the question WHY WHEN I LIVE IN BURNLEY MY SURGEON IS IN ROSSENDALE AND MY FILE IS AT BLACKBURN(WELL SHOULD BE) jenjolly
  • Score: 0

1:18pm Mon 28 Jul 08

Kevin, Colne says...

The setting of targets in the public sector was seen by many as a way to improve organisational performance. The public sector is now drowning in targets which in some instances has lead to organisational dysfunction.

Targets are 'game-played'. What this means is that they are played with in a way within the rules -and sometimes outside the rules - or engineered to give either the required or best result. Thus they need to be treated with a great deal of caution. My response to any politician who trots out target and outcomes is a simple one: "You're a grown adult and if you wish to believe that, then be my guest; but don't expcet me to hold your hand and join you in delusion".

Public sector managers and politicians have a problem when target outcomes fail to tally with the reality of people on the ground. This seems to be happening at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust in a big way.

Folks have to decide which version of events to believe: the politicians, the managers or the leaks emanating from those on the front line.

As an American would say: "Tt's a no-brainer".
The setting of targets in the public sector was seen by many as a way to improve organisational performance. The public sector is now drowning in targets which in some instances has lead to organisational dysfunction. Targets are 'game-played'. What this means is that they are played with in a way within the rules -and sometimes outside the rules - or engineered to give either the required or best result. Thus they need to be treated with a great deal of caution. My response to any politician who trots out target and outcomes is a simple one: "You're a grown adult and if you wish to believe that, then be my guest; but don't expcet me to hold your hand and join you in delusion". Public sector managers and politicians have a problem when target outcomes fail to tally with the reality of people on the ground. This seems to be happening at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust in a big way. Folks have to decide which version of events to believe: the politicians, the managers or the leaks emanating from those on the front line. As an American would say: "Tt's a no-brainer". Kevin, Colne
  • Score: 0

2:02pm Mon 28 Jul 08

Kevin, Colne says...

Two things I forget to say. First this is an absolute tragedy for East Lancashire and secondly I feel desparately sorry.

I'm sorry for the East Lancashire NHS Trust Board that I'm certian is trying heroically to make the best of a bad job, I feel sorry for the Chief Executive of the Trust and the managers who I'm sure are highly competent and trying their very best in very trying circumstances and I feel sorry for the front-line staff who somehow have to try and carry-on as best they can. And I feel sorry for the patients.

The thing is I just don't know how on earth we now get out of this impasse. The stories of problems are simply refusing to go away. I absolutely dread becoming ill and ending up at Blackburn; and it shouldn't be like this, should it?
Two things I forget to say. First this is an absolute tragedy for East Lancashire and secondly I feel desparately sorry. I'm sorry for the East Lancashire NHS Trust Board that I'm certian is trying heroically to make the best of a bad job, I feel sorry for the Chief Executive of the Trust and the managers who I'm sure are highly competent and trying their very best in very trying circumstances and I feel sorry for the front-line staff who somehow have to try and carry-on as best they can. And I feel sorry for the patients. The thing is I just don't know how on earth we now get out of this impasse. The stories of problems are simply refusing to go away. I absolutely dread becoming ill and ending up at Blackburn; and it shouldn't be like this, should it? Kevin, Colne
  • Score: 0

5:36pm Mon 28 Jul 08

berny says...

KEEP VOTING LABOUR AND YOU WILL GET MORE OF THE SAME THIS ONCE GREAT COUNTRY HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO IT KNEES WITH THIS INCOMPETENT LOT EX LABOUR VOTER
KEEP VOTING LABOUR AND YOU WILL GET MORE OF THE SAME THIS ONCE GREAT COUNTRY HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO IT KNEES WITH THIS INCOMPETENT LOT EX LABOUR VOTER berny
  • Score: 0

5:36pm Mon 28 Jul 08

berny says...

KEEP VOTING LABOUR AND YOU WILL GET MORE OF THE SAME THIS ONCE GREAT COUNTRY HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO IT KNEES WITH THIS INCOMPETENT LOT EX LABOUR VOTER
KEEP VOTING LABOUR AND YOU WILL GET MORE OF THE SAME THIS ONCE GREAT COUNTRY HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO IT KNEES WITH THIS INCOMPETENT LOT EX LABOUR VOTER berny
  • Score: 0

7:00pm Mon 28 Jul 08

Kevin, Colne says...

In regard to public services the Labour Party has placed its trust in: structural re-organisation, new target-driven remuneration packages for staff and technology. The first of these produces organisational dissaray, the second has all but eradicated the traditional public-service ethos and the third sometimes works, but more often works very badly.

I have a serious medical condition and am seen annually by the 'medics' who sit there in front of a computer secreen tip, tapping away on the 'qwerty' board. It's very clear to me, the patient, that I'm a thing not a person and my role is to provide information for the computer system. I would much prefer to sit down with a cup of tea, a Kit-Kat and have a human to human chat but no the structure of the computer programme on the screen shapes the consultation.

How on earth has it come to this?
In regard to public services the Labour Party has placed its trust in: structural re-organisation, new target-driven remuneration packages for staff and technology. The first of these produces organisational dissaray, the second has all but eradicated the traditional public-service ethos and the third sometimes works, but more often works very badly. I have a serious medical condition and am seen annually by the 'medics' who sit there in front of a computer secreen tip, tapping away on the 'qwerty' board. It's very clear to me, the patient, that I'm a thing not a person and my role is to provide information for the computer system. I would much prefer to sit down with a cup of tea, a Kit-Kat and have a human to human chat but no the structure of the computer programme on the screen shapes the consultation. How on earth has it come to this? Kevin, Colne
  • Score: 0

11:23pm Mon 28 Jul 08

kath says...

when will people realize it isn't the NHS anymore it's a business and your just a number.
when will people realize it isn't the NHS anymore it's a business and your just a number. kath
  • Score: 0

11:23pm Mon 28 Jul 08

kath says...

when will people realize it isn't the NHS anymore it's a business and your just a number.
when will people realize it isn't the NHS anymore it's a business and your just a number. kath
  • Score: 0

2:07am Tue 29 Jul 08

Para Handy says...

This doctor has said nothing new! I'm not at all shocked at some of the claims made, as I've had the misfortune to have seen some of them in action.
The best bit of advice I received fom a doctor, a few years ago, was to stay out of hospital, as they only make you ill!
This doctor has said nothing new! I'm not at all shocked at some of the claims made, as I've had the misfortune to have seen some of them in action. The best bit of advice I received fom a doctor, a few years ago, was to stay out of hospital, as they only make you ill! Para Handy
  • Score: 0

9:36pm Sat 30 Aug 08

pendlereader says...

Quote "Trust bosses, who defended the treatment received by patients at the hospitals, criticised the doctor for making the concerns public rather than reporting the problems to them".

These 'Trust bosses' are well aware of the problems mentioned by the doctor, and have been for some time.

The problem is the management simply cannot account for the whole counties A&E requirements and without reinstating the A&E services at Burnley these issues will continue.

Its amazing that nothing is being done to rectify the problems considering how so many serious complaints have been made, not accounting for these media releases of which there must be hundreds!





Quote "Trust bosses, who defended the treatment received by patients at the hospitals, criticised the doctor for making the concerns public rather than reporting the problems to them". These 'Trust bosses' are well aware of the problems mentioned by the doctor, and have been for some time. The problem is the management simply cannot account for the whole counties A&E requirements and without reinstating the A&E services at Burnley these issues will continue. Its amazing that nothing is being done to rectify the problems considering how so many serious complaints have been made, not accounting for these media releases of which there must be hundreds! pendlereader
  • Score: 0
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