Union backs call for meeting on hospital
11:40am Monday 4th March 2013 in News
CALLS have been made for a public meeting to discuss concerns about the Royal Bolton Hospital.
It comes after an investigation in to “coding” practices, which could affect death rates at the hospital, was launched by healthcare information experts Dr Foster.
Florence Hill, former chairman of Bolton’s Unison, said it was time the public had their questions answered.
She was supported by Harry Hanley, branch secretary of Unison, who said the Bolton public “deserve a public meeting”.
Dr Foster is carrying out an investigation to find out why, between March, 2011, and April, 2012, Bolton had 800 cases of septicaemia when a similar-sized trust would expect to have 200.
Septicaemia cases are “coded” differently to other causes of death, which means if it is discovered they were coded incorrectly it could have implications for Bolton’s mortality rates.
Bolton’s death rates, which were among the worst in the country for the six consecutive years before 2011, improved dramatically that year.
Septicaemia cases also receive more funding than other infections and so the investigation could also have financial implications.
It is the second time Mrs Hill has called for a public meeting about the hospital.
On January 9, she wrote to Bolton NHS Foundation Trust’s interim chairman David Wakefield to ask for a public meeting to talk about 500 job cuts at the Trust.
It came as the Trust, which needs to save £50 million in the next three years and is under scrutiny from health watchdog Monitor for governance, healthcare and financial failings, was revealed to be more than £14.5 million in debt.
But Mr Wakefield, who was appointed by Monitor to run the Trust in August, said a widespread public consultation on the job cuts “would not be appropriate”.
He said any changes would be overseen by Monitor and Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group and added they would be subject to scrutiny and would not endanger patients or reduce the quality of service.
She said: “I am very worried and I think people should be able to voice their concerns.
Mr Hanley added: “I would go 100 per cent behind a public meeting being called by the Trust.
“I think the people of Bolton deserve it and deserve to have any of their questions answered. Whet-her that is good for the Trust or bad for the Trust, the people deserve it.”
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