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Russells Hall Hospital boss must go, say MPs

By Pete Madeley | Dudley | Health | Published:

Dudley's four MPs have called for the chair of governors at the trust that runs Russells Hall Hospital to resign in the wake of serious failings in the hospital's A&E department.

Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley

In a letter to the governors at the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, the MPs said they had lost faith in the ability of Jenni Ord to hold the hospital's leadership to account.

Russells Hall Hospital's A&E department has been rated 'inadequate' in a scathing report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), while dozens of deaths there are being investigated in an independent inquiry.

Jenni Ord

The letter has been signed by Tory MPs Mike Wood (Dudley South), Margot James (Stourbridge) and James Morris (Halesowen and Rowley Regis), and Dudley North's Labour MP Ian Austin.

The MPs say they believe a new chair is required to ensure that drastic improvements outlined in the CQC report are carried out as a matter of urgency.

Their call has been backed by Dudley Council leader Patrick Harley, who said anyone found to be 'asleep at the wheel' at the failing department must be held to account.

"If that means resignations then so be it. It needs fresh people with fresh ideas and people who are going to scrutinise decisions," he said.

Ms Ord took up the post in January 2016 having previously been chair of Health Education West Midlands. She has vowed to fight on and insists she remains committed to improving conditions in the A&E department.

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"I can confirm that I have received a letter from our four local MPs asking me to consider my position," she said in a statement to the Express & Star.

"I absolutely understand the issues we face in our emergency department and I know that the required improvements have not occurred as quickly as the board or our regulators would like.

"However, we are seeing improvements and I remain absolutely committed to ensuring our emergency department is the safest it can be for our patients and I continue to welcome engagement with all our partners including local MPs to help us deliver this."

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A&E services at Russells Hall Hospital have come under the spotlight after CQC inspectors found a series of failings.

Concerns were raised over leadership and the treatment of patients, with the department's ability to identify patients with suspected sepsis highlighted as a particular issue.

Following the release of the report last week it was announced that an independent investigation was underway over the deaths of an alleged 54 patients

The probe is being carried out by Mike Bewick, the former deputy chief executive of NHS England, to establish why the patients died in the emergency department.

A&E services in Dudley were first rated 'inadequate' in a CQC report in December 2017. Russells Hall Hospital now has an overall rating of 'requires improvement'.

Pete Madeley

By Pete Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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