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Jeremy Hunt hails ‘fantastic’ recovery of trust running Medway Maritime Hospital

PUBLISHED: 13:11 14 November 2017

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt

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Medway NHS Foundation Trust exited special measures this year following “real challenges”

Medway Maritime Hospital Medway Maritime Hospital

Staff at Medway Maritime Hospital have been hailed by the health secretary for doing “a fantastic job” in pulling it out of special measures.

Action was first taken at Medway NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the Gillingham hospital, in July 2013 following a review of hospitals with higher than average mortality rates.

Subsequent inspections had given the trust an overall rating of ‘Inadequate’ with its A&E department described as “not able to cope”.

More worryingly, health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said at the start of last year that performance had “deteriorated” in some areas despite cross-agency support.

It described the trust’s state of health as “extremely concerning” and also reported that even senior figures had felt “bullied”.

Since then, however, the trust has been on an upward curve, following the appointment of Lesley Dwyer as chief executive and exited special measures earlier this year.

Jeremy Hunt was quizzed on the issue by Rochester and Strood MP Kelly Tolhurst at health questions in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

She said: “A few months ago Medway hospital came out of special measures, with its improvement to patient safety being one of the most notable highlights in the report.

“Given the success in my local area, can [Mr Hunt] inform the house what progress he has made to boost patient safety across the rest of the country?”

In response, the health secretary said: “I had a very good visit to Medway recently and I think Lesley Dwyer and her team are doing a fantastic job there.

“They had real challenges to turn that trust around but they succeeded and the staff did amazingly well.

“The truth is we still have far too high levels of avoidable harm across the NHS. I want us to be the safest in the world and that’s why in the next few months, we will see campaigns to improve maternity safety, to deal with medication error and to improve transparency when there are avoidable deaths.”

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