Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 9°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Colchester: Support for hospital trust chief exec in wake of cancer patient data scandal

22:29 06 November 2013

Dr Gordon Coutts

Dr Gordon Coutts

Cancer patients and politicians last night backed the chief executive at Colchester Hospitals NHS Trust as the man who can bring about the required improvements in the wake of the patient data scandal.


They say Dr Gordon Coutts has already made strides in improving staff openness at Colchester General Hospital and that the “trust is better off with him in charge”.

The comments come after several media reports featured calls for Dr Coutts to resign following revelations that staff at the trust had been bullied into changing the data on the records of some cancer patients.

The findings were published on Tuesday in a Care Quality Commission report, which said some patients may not have received the treatment they needed in time.

Clacton MP Douglas Carswell said: “Given the culture of bullying and the deliberate doctoring of data that the report has revealed it is clear heads must roll but I don’t think it’s Dr Coutts’ head that should go.

“He is on the side of the enraged. He hasn’t tried to make excuses for what has happened but has shown he wants to make improvements.

“The trust is better off with him in charge than without him.” Janet Brazier, president of the Gastro Intestinal Cancer Support Group which is attached to Colchester General Hospital, agreed with Mr Carswell’s assessment.

She said: “I was saddened to hear calls for Dr Gordon Coutts to resign. I am convinced he is the man to seek out any problems and deal with them robustly.

“In the six-and-a-half years I have been involved with the hospital I have seen huge improvements in terms of openness.”

Mrs Brazier had bowel cancer surgery in May 2007 and has met other patients of Colchester General Hospital with similar diseases through the support group.

She added: “I can only speak from personal experience and my treatment at Colchester General Hospital has been fantastic.

“I have always found the staff to be helpful and open and they have given both me and my husband great support when we have been patients there.”

A spokesman for the trust said Dr Coutts had no intention of resigning and that the trust has made “steady progress” since he and the present chairman, Dr Sally Irvine, took up their posts in 2010.

He said: “We accept that there are still more actions we still need to take and we need to accelerate the changes in our hospitals – that means further clinical, cultural and behavioural changes.

“The chief executive is focused on addressing the very serious concerns raised in the CQC report and leading the trust as it makes further improvements.”

He added that there have not been any suspensions at the trust this stage. “The trust board is commissioning an external investigation to determine whether staff have acted inappropriately and whether disciplinary action is warranted,” he added.

“This will include looking at actions taken by senior staff in response to the whistle-blowing concerns and also into why some staff felt they could not raise concerns internally.

“Dr Sally Irvine has identified some external individuals to carry out the investigation and this will start very shortly. It would be wrong to single out individuals at this stage.”



Andy Hazell is against adding steps into a green path next to the church in Kersey.

It is among the prettiest villages in Suffolk, its iconic centre considered one of the most beautiful views in the county.

The Golden Boar in Freckenham. Cyclists called 999 after the pub owners refused them tap water.

A tap water argument between pub staff and cyclists broke out in Freckenham after the group asked for a free water bottle fill-up for four.

Millicent Garrett Fawcett addressing the crowd in Hyde Park at the end of the suffragist pilgramage, July 26, 1913

With the film Suffragette out, we ask how far women have come in 100 years and what still needs to be done

Myriad by David Rickard and Germano Di Chello will grace the grounds of Snape Maltings

An exciting new contemporary sculpture will be built at Snape Maltings next year to give visitors a different way of looking at the landscape.

Avocet kneeling allowing chicks to find shelter under wing

The RSPB is celebrating a record-breaking year for its emblem bird the avocet across its nature reserves - including one of the Suffolk sites where the species made its famous British comeback almost 70 years ago.

Philip Heathcote.

The funeral of a Suffolk man gunned down in the massacre on a holiday beach in Tunisia is taking place today.

Part of a road has been closed off this afternoon following an accident involving a panel-sided van.

John McKno

A 70-year-old former maths teacher had denied 13 charges alleging he abused five children at Kesgrave Hall and two other schools.

Jack preparing his bake as part of Framlingham's Hitcham's Head Chefs competition.

Treacle tart with custard, black forest cupcakes, oaty chocolate chip cookies and apple crumble are among the dishes that impressed judges at a primary school cooking competition last week.

Colchester High Street bus lane

Motorists in Essex have paid more than £2million in fines for using four bus lanes in the county.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages