Sir Mike Penning MP has branded the latest rating of West Herts Hospitals Trust as “shocking, but not surprising”.
But hospital bosses say the inspection “shows how dramatically the balance has tipped towards improvement”.
And both are adamant their interpretation is the right one, after the Care Quality Commission rated the trust as ‘requires improvement’ again.
The trust covers all three hospital across the area.
After visiting them in October and November, inspectors gave West Herts the second-worst of the four available grades.
In addition both Watford and Hemel Hempstead hospitals were also individually rated as Requires Improvement, while St Albans Hospital got the worst possible grade of
Health chiefs wanted to focus on the positives.
Inspectors noted staff cared for patients with “compassion, kindness and respect”, and noted examples of outstanding practice in the children’s emergency department, medical care and maternity at Watford General Hospital.
Bereavement care and support, multidisciplinary working in the dementia and stroke units, and work in the maternity department were all praised too.
Trust chairman Professor Steve Barnett said: “We have achieved these positive results in spite of the challenges raised by operating in buildings across three sites that are past their best.
“I’m immensely proud of the dedication of our staff who continue to deliver the very best care for our patients in a far from ideal environment. I’m delighted the funding is almost within reach to help us make progress with our redevelopment plans which are gathering pace.”
Sir Mike Penning, MP for Hemel Hempstead, was less convinced.
He said: “Yet again, the hardworking frontline staff have been let down by management.
“Out of the five criteria the trust is rated on, it get a ‘requires improvement’ on four of them.
“Quite simply, local people deserve better than this. This is a shocking report. The management of our local NHS is failing at every level.”
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