Health secretary Andy Burnham has been urged to launch an inquiry into a crisis-hit Birmingham hospital trust.
Troubleshooters have been sent into Heart of England Foundation Trust for repeatedly failing to treat A&E casualties within four hours across Heartlands, Solihull and Sutton Coldfield’s Good Hope hospitals.
Overseeing body Monitor has given the trust a ‘red’ high risk rating for the breach and could even strip the trust of its coveted ‘Foundation’ status if it does not improve under the supervision of the Britain’s top A&E advisor Dr George Alberti.
Lorely Burt, Liberal Democrat MP for Solihull, has now written to Mr Burnham urging him to investigate due to the “gravity of the situation”.
She said patients at Solihull Hospital were four times more likely than average to sit outside the A&E in an ambulance for more than an hour.
The MP cites this latest A&E breach, along with the five deaths at Heartlands Hospital from medication blunders and the trust’s moved to downgrade maternity services at Solihull Hospital before a public consultation has even been held.
Ms Burt’s letter to the Health Secretary states: “I am fully aware at how serious this request is. However, I feel that the Foundation Trust has lost the ability to run the three hospitals to a level which is acceptable to the people of Solihull and South East Birmingham. I have come to this conclusion after three significant failures by the trust.”
Ms Burt, who was due to meet trust chief executive Mark Goldman this week, said: “All these incidents are shreaking out at me as real cause for concern.
“They all amount to a black mark for the trust management. We need an inquiry.”
Trust director Lisa Dunn blamed the coldest winter in 30 years, Heartlands and Good Hope A&Es receiving double the number of ambulances in the region and up to 17 per cent surge in emergencies for the failure to see patients within four hours.
Ms Dunn said: “Monitor, the regulator, has noted that the trust has failed the four hour A&E target in quarter three for the third year running.
“The trust’s main area for improvement is to reduce patient length of stay from just over eight days to the NHS average of just under six days. It is important to us that patient are treated appropriately and leave hospital when they are ready. Readmission rates, an issue highlighted nationally, remain below the NHS average.”