Colchester: Sir Bob calls for public support for hospital workforce after “devastating” report


- Credit: Andrew Partridge

Colchester MP Sir Bob Russell has described as “devastating” the Care Quality Commission (CQC) report detailing the falsifying of cancer patient records at Colchester Hospital NHS Trust.

But, he says the criticism only involves a small number of staff, and he has called on the public to support the rest of workforce to ensure morale isn’t damaged throughout the Trust.

He said: “This is devastating. What happened and the apparent cover-up are of the utmost seriousness – let me make this clear, there can be no justification under any circumstances.

“That there appear to be serious failings in day-to-day systems and management procedures in that part of the Hospital Trust treating cancer patients, with deeply worrying indications of bullying to falsify records, then questions have to be asked about line-management which takes us right to the heart of the organisation. The buck has to stop somewhere.”

Sir Bob stressed the damning criticisms were directed at only a small number of staff, but said he feared the impact would almost certainly damage the morale of staff throughout the Trust and could give cause for concern to patients and their families.

“It is vital that we all do what we can to restore morale as quickly as possible. The actions of a rogue few must not be foisted on the shoulders of the other 99.9 per cent of staff,” he said.

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“From my perspective, what has been unearthed does not indicate that such systematic failings exist throughout the Colchester Hospital Trust - staff at both Colchester General Hospital and Essex County Hospital, and by that I mean all staff, medical and support, have my total confidence that they are doing a first class job for which all of us should appreciate.

“Likewise, it is my belief that the people of Colchester – despite the devastating announcement today in respect of what has occurred for some patients with cancer – can be assured that across both hospitals, including within the cancer services, they can have confidence that they will get the best possible treatment.”

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He added: “We must not allow the allegations involving a small number to tarnish the reputation of the entire workforce, at all levels and across all disciplines. They have been let down. It is important that I and others rally round to give our public support at this very difficult time.”

He said also thanked the two members of staff who had complained to the CQC and offered his commiserations to the patients and families affected.

He said: “Nothing can make amends to what has happened to them or their loved ones. Out of this deeply devastating report I hope that lessons will be learned.”

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