Former Health Minister David Anderson is standing by his claim that a review of Noble’s Hospital by the West Midlands Quality Review Service focused too heavily on negative comments by lobbyists.
Mr Anderson said the first part of the review, which concentrated on A and E, theatres and anaesthetics, and critical care, had been influenced by lobby groups who had made themselves ‘very well known’ to the reviewers conducting the research.
‘I was aware that certain lobby groups had dominated on the one day that the reviewers were here and I hoped a broader cross-section would have the opportunity to comment,’ Mr Anderson said.
‘There is a proceedure the reviewers use but you always get people with a particular agenda.’
But when asked if he felt the review was hijacked by people with an agenda, he added: ‘No I’m not saying it was hijacked and I am not saying the review was not done in the right way– I just hope more people will engage in the process. I would like to see a broader cross-section of views expressed. I am not saying the reviewers were incompetent. They are an independent body and results will be published.’
Mr Anderson said lobby groups within Noble’s Hospital had been prominent on the single day the reviewers were at the hospital.
‘But there may be other people who are comfortable with the way things are working,’ he said.
‘In future I hope the cross-section of people questioned will be as broad as possible. In such a big organisation there are always factions with their own agenda on things. It will be more comprehensive if more people engaged. I’m not saying it was hijacked but I am aware that certain individuals demanded the time.’
Douglas South MHK and Liberal Vannin leader Kate Beecroft has accused Mr Anderson of being lazy, incompetent and arrogant in his handling of the matter and his reaction to the report was ‘defending the indefensible’.
Reacting to Mrs Beecroft’s accusation he said: ‘I was the one that commissioned the review. Beyond that I am not commenting.’
New Health Minister Howard Quayle said the West Midlands Quality Review had completed just under 1,000 such surveys during its time in operation and was unlikely to have been influenced by lobby groups.
‘One would have thought they knew how to sift the seeds from the chaff and get a correct picture rather than a one-sided view,’ he said.
However, he accepted many of the people putting themselves forward to comment would be those with a negative opinion.
He said: ‘If you are happy, you don’t get motivated to comment. It’s human nature that people don’t tend to come forward to say “well done”.
‘They did say in the review that people had complained about A and E waiting times but the review found that they were well below the waiting times of the UK, so they do investigate rather than just taking comments at face value,’ he said.
Mrs Beecroft said claims of insufficient money in the budget to address the problems at the hospital was nothing more than ‘a lame excuse’.
‘He has said we have a world class service and this has been said for years,’ she said. ‘Money does not solve bad management.
‘Six months after the 10 consultants sent their letter, he had not spoken to them. He has provided excuse after excuse and blamed everybody else. I’ve not heard an apology from anyone to the staff or the people who have suffered as a result of this. How many more people is he going to blame before himself? I know this did not happen overnight. It just came to a head and the previous health ministers had been ignoring the signs.’
‘Most people have had a positive experience at the hospital but there are some at the opposite end of the spectrum.’