Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, today called for the appointment of a strong new non-political chairman of West Herts NHS Trust. This follows a string of damaging surveys and suggested organisational failures within the trust.

    Peter Lilley said:

    “Things cannot go on as they are in West Hertfordshire NHS Trust. One survey earlier this month ? The Good Hospital Guide ? revealed that acute hospitals in West Hertfordshire suffered the biggest rise in patient death rates in the NHS between 2001 and 2002. The trust also recorded among the longest waiting times despite relatively high staffing levels. Indeed, it came as a bit of a surprise that West Herts was one of the 20 trusts in England with the highest ratio of doctors to beds ? given the fact that staff shortages have been consistently used as one of the main reasons for poor performance.

    “An answer to a Parliamentary Question published this month showed that patients are being put at risk by poor health and safety standards. Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Strategic Health Authority came tenth in a nationwide table of health authorities which were failing health and safety rules ? with nearly 15% of wards, waiting rooms, corridors and bathrooms failing to meet the required standards. The worst conditions are to be found in the dilapidated hospitals managed by West Hertfordshire NHS Trust.

    “Coming on top of the fiasco over the two suspended consultants, this latest evidence reinforces my view that local patients are not getting the quality of care which they could and which dedicated medical care would like to provide. It is high time that a strong new non-political chairman is appointed to reinforce the work of the relatively new Chief Executive, Val Harrison, to improve the organisation so that patients in West Hertfordshire receive the treatment they deserve.?