Johnny Mercer has vowed to march on campaigning for new state of the art facilities at Derriford Hospital after an official warning was placed over its under strain Emergency Department.
The Moor View parliamentarian believes the CQC’s report exposing a number of issues concerning crowding and delays as ‘not helpful’ during the coronavirus pandemic and says he will do all he can to ensure Derriford gets a new Emergency Department by 2024 as well as a brand new hospital in later years.
His comments come as the UK’s health watchdog orders Plymouth University Hospitals NHS Trust to make urgent improvements after an inspection in March.
The former Veterans Minister said: “I’d just like to thank all the staff who’ve done an amazing job during this pandemic.
“I’m not sure why the CQC think a report like this is helpful at this time during a once-in-a-generation pandemic when we all know there are structural challenges at Derriford Hospital and the A&E (Emergency) department so I don’t see why that’s helpful.
“Personally I don’t think it’s helpful, and I’d just like to say a huge thank you to the staff because they’ve been struggling away in a department that’s not fit for purpose in a long time.”
When asked whether the NHS was suffering from lack of investment under the Conservative Government, he responded: “I think if you look at the figures, yes historically as a Conservative Government we haven’t invested enough in our NHS, that’s a fair criticism.
“I don’t think that can be levelled at the current administration, I think that we need to have grown up conversations around how we can sustain a health care system that is free to the point of need for those who need it.
“One of the answers is a big investment in infrastructure which I’ve committed to, Matt Hancock has committed to, the Prime Minister has committed to. I think everybody knows my views of those who don’t deliver their promises in politics.”
Meanwhile, Plymouth Sutton and Devonport Labour MP Luke Pollard said some ‘serious problems need to be addressed’.
He said: “I want to thank our NHS staff for working under incredibly tough circumstances throughout the pandemic. The CQC report identifies some problems, but it should also thank staff enough for going the extra mile and working their socks off. I have confidence in the team at Derriford to address the problems that have been identified.
“A decade of underfunding and fragmenting our NHS means there are some serious problems that need to be addressed. One of the most urgent issues is sorting out the crisis in primary care so everyone can see a GP locally. Derriford’s Emergency Department should be for emergencies but sadly too many Plymouth families are having to use it because they can’t access a doctor.
“I want to see NHS staff paid a decent pay rise not given the planned real terms pay cut by Ministers. It also means proper investment in our NHS and that is what I will continue to argue for.”
A report from the CQC, published yesterday, states Plymouth University Hospitals Trust has been informed of two breaches of legal requirements which “must be put right”.
Inspectors received information which led to concerns about “the safety and quality of the service”, and as a result gave the trust “around 30 minutes” notice before an inspection was carried out of the ED and diagnostic imaging services.
The trust said it has provided the CQC with “evidence of the immediate actions” it has already taken to address the concerns raised during the inspection.
It praised staff for their efforts during the global pandemic “to meet the needs of patients attending as emergencies, both with and without Covid-19”.
A Derriford spokesperson said the hospital appreciated the recognition.
The inspection, which focused purely on how safe, responsive and well-led the service was, found that there had been a deterioration in the quality of services being provided, which resulted in some rating changes.
The safety of this service at Derriford Hospital was previously rated as requires improvement, but it is now inadequate; and where the service used to be good for being well-led, it is now rated as requires improvement.
The ‘Responsive’ category was not rated on this occasion so the previous rating of requires improvement remains. The overall rating for the urgent and emergency care service at Derriford Hospital remains as requires improvement.
CQC also looked at the diagnostic and imaging services in response to concerns about the safety and quality of the service, and to check on the progress of improvements made following a previous inspection. During this focused inspection, CQC looked at how safe, effective and well-led the diagnostic imaging service at Derriford Hospital was.
Due to the narrow focus of the inspection, the overall rating for diagnostic imaging did not change and remains requires improvement.
During this part of the inspection, the CQC found staff “identified, responded to and removed or minimised risks to patients” and the service managed patient safety incidents “well”. It also found that staff felt “respected, supported and valued” and were focused on the needs of patients receiving care.
You can read the full report here.