‘Disturbing’ hospital findings must be investigated after inspectors demand services improves, says councillor

The University Hospital of Hartlepool.
The University Hospital of Hartlepool.
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The head of a council scrutiny body has questioned the ability of a hospital trust to deliver quality services after inspectors said improvements were needed.

Councillor Ray Martin-Wells, chairman of Hartlepool Borough Council’s Audit and Governance Committee, said it was “disturbing” that areas of the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust were rated ‘Requires Improvement’.

Coun Ray Martin-Wells.

Coun Ray Martin-Wells.

Coun Martin-Wells said the audit committee would have “searching questions” when it receives a report from the trust about the quality of its services on Thursday, February 11.

Trust leaders are also due to explain to the scrutiny body tomorrow how a decision was reached to axe licensed fertility services, including IVF, at Hartlepool hospital.

Dr Mohammed Menabawey, described as one of the country’s leading fertility experts, who helped to establish Hartlepool’s original fertility clinic, has been invited to give evidence to the meeting.

Commenting on the trust’s CQC inspection results, Coun Martin-Wells said: “Whilst the CQC has identified areas of good practice, it is disturbing to hear that overall services provided by the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust at the University Hospital of Hartlepool are not performing as well as they should be.

Leads me to question whether the Trust has the ability to deliver the quality hospital and health care services we expect on a day-to-day basis

Coun Ray Martin-Wells, Chair of Hartlepool council’s Audit and Governance Committee

“As Chair of the Audit and Governance Committee, I will be seeking an explanation from the Trust as to how they intend to implement the improvements required by the CQC.

“There is a common thread running through this report which questions the leadership of the Hospital Trust and this leads me to question whether the Trust has the ability to deliver the quality hospital and health care services we expect on a day-to-day basis.”

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s special fertility meeting Coun Martin-Wells added: “Far too often councillors have to rely on clinical information provided by the Hospital Trust when we are scrutinising its performance.

“My colleagues on the committee feel it is important to seek the views of a clinical expert from outside the Trust on this matter and we are delighted that Dr Mohammed Menabawey – one of the leading voices on fertility in the country - has agreed to give up his time and attend the meeting.”

Members of the Audit and Governance Committee will fire questions to the hospital trust representatives and members of the public will also get to ask questions.

The meeting will take place in the Council Chamber of the civic centre and starts at 2.30pm. Doors open at 2pm and seats will be available on a first come, first served basis.