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GMB Working To Improve Berks NHS Trust

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Union Working With Management At Heatherwood And Wexham Park Hospital Trust To Improve Services In Wake Of CQC Report Says Government Must Also Accept Responsibility

The evidence produced in the report clearly shows that the Trust does not have the funding or staffing to be able to cope with the volume of work on a daily basis says GMB.

GMB, the union for staff at Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, responded to the latest test Care Quality Commission report on the trust, published 8 January 2014.

 Gavin Davies, GMB Health Service Officer, said “GMB has carefully studied the report and we welcome it and accept that there is still room for much improvement at Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust we believe that it is overly slanted at a cash strapped hospital that has been continuously neglected by this Government.

GMB want to reassure the public that union representatives have been working closely with the Executive Team in developing and supporting the workforce at the trust and we have seen significant improvements over the last two years and especially in the last six months. This has led to a substantial improvement in equipment, the fabric of the building and, most of all, to the quality of Trust’s services to patients.

The report has found that since May 2013 there has been extensive work done to improve the quality of care.  However neither the GMB, nor I am sure the Trust, is ever contented with the level of care that should be provided.  

The public need to know that union members within the trust continue to be committed and work towards the necessary improvements which we all wish to see – staff, executive team, local health partners and GMB union.

However we should not lose sight of wider picture. Frankly I think there should also be an audit by MPs on the way the Department of Health/Government is running the National Health Service.  It is indeed folly for the Government to establish a Commission that writes reports blaming these failings on management that are caused by Government.

The truth of the matter is this Government has starved Wexham Park Hospital of cash over the past 4 years and continues to do so.  

The evidence produced in the report clearly shows that the Trust does not have the funding or staffing to be able to cope with the volume of work on a daily basis.  The CQC report criticises the hospital for not having enough staff.  They criticise them for not answering the telephone and they criticise them for not spending sufficient time talking to patients.  

There is a lack of funding for equipment, for staffing, bed shortages, training, and the hospital is run on a shoe string which effectively has caused them to run over budget, under staffed and expected to deliver a first class service to the public.

GMB has for years now been calling on the Government to properly fund the NHS and stop blaming the hard working staff who are now being criticised because they simply have not got time to meet the demands on an hour by hour, day by day basis.  The report does highlight a lot of frustrations by staff and junior managers at the hospital.

With additional resources the staff should be able to spend time with patients and relatives, and again the report has found that staff do their best under very difficult circumstances but the difficult circumstances have not been highlighted.

GMB has been working with management since May last year to improve the quality of care within the Trust but this has proved extremely difficult with the restricted funding.

However, the Trust has committed to work with us to ensure that they put in place sufficient training on communication, dignity at work, equalities, and some other issues raised in the report.  

We will however be demanding that the Department of Health also meets their obligation and funds the shortfall of funding for the National Health Service, and in particular Wexham Park Hospital.  

The three areas of reasonable expectation in any hospital is 1) staffing, 2)  care and welfare of users, and 3) respecting and involving people who use the services, and 4) infection and cleanliness control.  These are the main areas that are severely affected by the funding starvation within this and many other Trusts.”


Contact:  Gavin Davies 07930 983 376 or Paul Maloney 007801 343 839 GMB Press Office 07921 289 880


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