Chairman fired as another NHS trust is censured

Up to eight more hospitals under investigation after damning report reveals unacceptable death rate at Colchester hospital

A third NHS Foundation hospital with a high death rate, long waiting times and poor leadership was marked as "failed" yesterday and its chairman sacked as details emerged of 26 hospitals across the NHS with mortality rates higher than expected.

Richard Bourne, chairman of the Colchester University Hospitals Foundation NHS Trust, was dismissed from his £40,000-a-year post just two months after his appointment had been renewed by the trust board. Two weeks ago medical staff at the trust passed a vote of no confidence in him.

The move, by the foundation trust regulator Monitor, was disclosed 24 hours after Monitor ordered a hit squad into the nearby Basildon NHS Trust, where poor care and a filthy environment in its accident and emergency unit are thought to have contributed to 400 deaths.

In a statement issued yesterday, Monitor said Colchester hospital had a death rate 12 per cent above the national average and had failed repeatedly to meet the 18-week waiting-list target, the four-hour A&E target and the cancer waiting-time targets. Measures of patient satisfaction and board governance were also poor. Tomorrow, Dr Foster, an organisation that gathers performance data for the NHS, is to publish death rates for every hospital in England which will show 26 are giving cause for concern.

The shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, commenting on the revelations about Basildon, said yesterday: "I am extremely concerned that a number of other hospitals also have high death rates. While I know that some of them are good hospitals that perform well, the public needs to know that the inspectors and the Government are doing everything they can to ensure that public safety is not being put at risk."

The disclosure of poor care at Colchester and Basildon hospitals followed the scandal at Mid Staffordhire NHS Trust last March, where an investigation revealed apalling standards of care and showed between 400 and 1,200 more deaths had occurred than the national average in the three years to 2007-08.

In the NHS performance ratings for 2008-9, published by the Care Quality Commission last October, Colchester scored "Fair" on the quality of its service, two grades below the "Excellent" it scored in 2007-8. It is unusual for any hospital to drop two grades in a year. Although the trust's poor showing had aroused concerns at the CQC, it was not considered bad enough to trigger action.

Monitor, however, took a different view. Its chairman, Dr William Moyes, said: "For the last six months we have been meeting the trust with increasing frequency to point out a lot of things that were not up to spec. The conclusion we've reached is that, under the present leadership, they have not been dealing with these issues fast enough. This is about making sure the trust is in a position to identify risks that affect patient services and deliver an effective response."

The Liberal Democrat MP Bob Russell, who represents Colchester, said: "You have to ask what has Monitor been doing if their role has been to monitor this and the situation has deteriorated so badly. The notion that one man should take all the rap for all this is something that has to be looked at." Baroness Young, chair of the CQC, admitted that the current inspection system was flawed. She said reforms would soon be in place.

Earlier this month, the outgoing chairman, Mr Bourne, accused Monitor of being "grossly unfair" and full of "intimidation". In an email to other foundation trusts, seen by the Health Service Journal, Mr Bourne said Monitor's process ignored evidence of a favourable nature.

* There were reports last night that up to eight others were being investigated for below-par performance.

The chairman of the NHS Foundation Trust regulator, Monitor, told the BBC that out of 125 foundation trusts, no more than a "handful" were being closely scrutinised for possible poor performance. William Moyes did not identify the trusts in question.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Guru Careers: Creative Director / Head of Creative

    £65K - £75K (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Creative Director...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Technical Support Engineer

    £18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful IT reseller bas...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Engineer / Technical Sales Representative - OTE £35k

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the Country's leading di...

    Recruitment Genius: Logistics Coordinator - Part-Time

    £10000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence