"Hospitals" documentary

  • Boss of London hospital trust featured in BBC2 ‘cancelled operations’ documentary to quit

    Ross Lydall  

     

    The boss of the London hospital trust seen in a groundbreaking TV documentary battling against crisis levels of patient demand and cash shortages is to quit, the Standard can reveal. 

    The revelation that highly respected Dr Tracey Batten is to leave Imperial College Healthcare, which runs five west London hospitals including St Mary’s and Charing Cross, will send shockwaves across the NHS. Many will see her departure as evidence of the impossible task that hospitals face contending with rising demands and diminishing resources. 

    The trust has been openly criticised by its own consultants in the BBC2 documentary Hospital, which has given the public unprecedented insight into the scale of the NHS crisis. 

    Patients have been seen having critical operations cancelled on numerous occasions — as entire surgical teams sit waiting in their scrubs and operating theatres go unused — because of a shortage of intensive care beds. 

    The latest episode saw Imperial’s chief neurosurgeon, Kevin O’Neill, question if Imperial was right to send patients stuck on waiting lists to private hospitals for operations rather than keep the money within the NHS.

  • Imperial CEO resigns

    The rising pressures on Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust finally took their toll yesterday. Dr Tracey Batten, CEO of the trust with three of the busiest acute hospitals in west London, resigned after the Board meeting in public at Charing Cross yesterday, Wednesday 25th January 2017.

    The timing of this resignation could not be worse, with A&E attendances rising to unmanageable levels, a growing waiting list for surgery both emergency and elective, and a programme of redevelopment at a critical point at St Mary's and in the wider context of the "Shaping a Healthier Future" business plans.

    Dr Batten was brave and honest to allow the BBC full access to Imperial's hospitals over 6 weeks. The documentary series "Hospital" is being broadcast on BBC2 on Wednesdays at 9pm, available later on the i-player.

    The Trust is closely helped by PwC for day-to-day financial management, although we were assured at the Board meeting on Wednesday that it "can pay its bills".

    NW London is one of the 44  NHS "footprints" in the most advanced stages of preparation for the implementation of its "Sustainability and Transformation Plan". It is known to be closely watched by the Department of Health. The pressure of implementing completely unwarranted and impossible cuts has, it is believed, prompted this resignation. We look forward to Imperial acknowledging that the evidence shows increased demand for beds, not for cuts in beds and staff.

    Postscript:  On 6th February Dr Batten informed us that in 6 months she will be going back to spend time with her ageing parents in Australia.