Like many of you, I was deeply saddened and concerned to hear that our local Whipps Cross Hospital was placed into special measures following one of the worst reports a CQC has made on a hospital. In the eight core areas of service, six were deemed to be inadequate including A&E and child services.
With an election looming, we can get bogged down in political fights. But in order to ensure the staff are correctly supported and that local residents get the health service they need, I have asked IDS to work with the local Labour Waltham Forest Council and MPs to see what we can do to get Whipps Cross back on track. I set out my email to him below.
Dear Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP
Like me, I'm sure you are deeply concerned and saddened to hear that our local Whipps Cross Hospital has been placed into special measures. In its findings, the CQC report states that six of the eight core functions were rated inadequate, including A&E and services for young people and children.
While I'm sure you will agree that the staff at Whipps Cross do the best they can in difficult circumstances, the report reveals a variety of structural problems that requires cross party support to ensure that local residents receive the care they need, and staff can focus on what they are dedicated to doing - saving lives.
The Labour Party is committed to investing into the NHS by providing 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more doctors. I believe this will in some way help Whipps Cross and hospitals across the country to get back on track to being a world class health provider. I accept that you will take a different view on this.
In any event, I would be most grateful if you could respond to the following questions:
1. You recently stated that you were to meet Barts and The London Trust senior management to discuss Whipps Cross. What was the outcome of that meeting?
2. Were you made aware of the extent of problems at Whipps Cross at that meeting?
3. Given your role as a member of the Cabinet, will you raise this issue directly with the Secretary of Health? I have this evening met with the Shadow Secretary of Health Rt. Hon. Andy Burnham MP and discussed specifically Whipps Cross. I am sure members of the Labour Party will attempt to raise questions around Whipps Cross in Parliament in the next few days.
4. In your 2010 campaign, you focused energy on ensuring that Whipps Cross will be a stable, great provider of healthcare to our local community. Do you believe you have done enough in the past five years? Do you also believe the Health and Social Care Act has been beneficial in any way to Whipps Cross in particular?
5. Will you, given the grave circumstances we are facing, now work with the Labour Council in Waltham Forest and my colleagues Stella Creasy MP and John Cryer MP to help get Whipps Cross out of special measures as quickly as possible?
With a general election looming, we are of course set to draw battle lines and engage in a debate with our local community of who is best suited to ensure the NHS is supported. Regardless of our political differences, it's imperative for every person who uses Whipps Cross and who works there, that as much support will be given, and action taken, to get it back on track.
As always, I look forward to your speedy response.