MP says NHS services are ‘just not good enough’
Eliza Boo Photography
A Norwich MP has branded two of Norfolk’s NHS organisations as “just not good enough” after both received unsatisfactory inspection reports.
The East of England Ambulance Trust (EEAST) was told this week by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) that it must improve after inspectors found high demand had left staff burnt out and performance targets missed.
And the Norfolk and Norwich University (NNUH) was placed in special measures and rated inadequate on June 19.
But Conservative MP for Norwich North, Chloe Smith, said the situation was “concerning and frustrating”.
She said: “Plenty of NHS services elsewhere in the country are performing so much better for patients, and it’s just not good enough for Norfolk patients to be badly served by those who run the hospital or the ambulance service.
“Given sustained poor performance at both the N&N and the ambulance trust in Norfolk, it is important to look at the necessary improvements together.
“NHS community care in Norfolk is rated outstanding so they can show how it’s done.”
Norfolk Community Health and Care (NCHC) was last week given the highest possible rating by the CQC, the first standalone community trust in England to be given the accolade.
Ms Smith said: “I know from some constituents that they have had slow response times from ambulances so the service must improve for the sake of patients.
“I want to praise the staff at both the N&N and ambulance service who work so hard and are shown to be outstanding in this report in the face of high demand. I will continue to support the ambulance trust to improve, and met management and staff at the Norwich depot on Friday to talk about improvements.”
Clive Lewis, Labour MP for Norwich South, added: “Despite the triumphalism of local Tory MPs, I said earlier this year it’d take more than giving the our ambulance service a few extra quid to fix the chaos this government has created in our local health service.
“The Norfolk and Norwich Hospital has been rated inadequate, local mental health services have failed twice and we’ve got a Tory county council continually begging their own government for more money for adult social care. And now our ambulance service remains stuck in requires improvement purgatory.
“Make no mistake, we are in the midst of a Norwich NHS and care crisis made in Downing Street. A crisis caused by eight years of Tory underfunding of health and savage cuts to social care and community preventative services which reduce the need for people to go to hospital in the first place.”
But Ms Smith said: “This is not about money. The report is clear that the ambulance trust has got extra funding to improve response times for patients, and the government has announced a huge £20bn-a-year increase in long term funding for the NHS in its 70th year. It is about the quality of leadership. The report says the ambulance leadership knows what the challenges are and are already working to put things right.
“This week I have also asked the hospital to show they’ve got a plan, and to give the community confidence that their leadership can deliver too.
“It is not fair for Norfolk to suffer poor leadership in our precious NHS when the government has done its bit. Patients and staff deserve better.”
EEAST chief executive Robert Morton said: “I’d like to thank both Clive and Chloe for their continued dialogue with EEAST, both at a local level and with myself and the board, and for their support of our people who are working every day to make a difference to patients.”
NNUH chief executive Mark Davies previously said: “In the nine months or so since the start of the inspection process we have continued to work on many improvements, which, in line with CQC recommendations, have included the significant increase in the capacity of the Emergency Department (ED) and trebling the size of the children’s ED.
“We are working on our improvement plan with the help and support from NHS Improvement and also the King’s Fund (the independent charity and expert think tank on health and care).
“Nothing is more important to us than providing the best possible care for our patients and the right culture and environment for our staff.”