Alder Hey Children’s Hospital has been deemed “potentially unsafe” following an unannounced inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The hospital failed to meet four out of five quality standards, with problems recorded across the board.

Amongst others things, the airways monitoring equipment was not in place, the emergency call alarm system in the day surgery was faulty, operation schedules overran and there were significant staff shortages in the recovery area.

Staff were also failing to report patient safety incidents, meaning it is very likely that the issues at Alder Hey would have remained undisclosed, were it not for the actions of two whistle-blowers.

Shiban Ahmed and Edwin Jesudason, both highly regarded surgical consultants, contacted the CQC to report their concerns about the hospital.

But instead of being commended for their courage, they have been seemingly penalised for exposing the failings at Alder Hey: Ahmed has been suspended, and Jesudason has been unable to find work since resigning last year.

The treatment of Ahmed and Jesudason suggests that the culture of whistle-blowing remains unacceptable within the NHS, with individuals who voice concerns being bullied and punished by NHS Trusts.

There are accounts of student nurses who cannot get their training signed off because they have spoken out about patient safety issues, and of senior consultants who are referred to the General Medical Council charged with inappropriately accessing patient data.

All this contradicts health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s pledge that there will be no more cover-ups within the NHS, meaning another scandal such as the one at Mid-Staffs may yet happen again.

Negligent hospital care

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