Letter to Hunts Post by Dr Nik Johnson, Labour MP candidate for Huntingdon, March 2015
Hospital inquiry would be welcome
Following the announcement of the Circle management’s departure from Hinchingbrooke Hospital and a critical Care Quality Commission (CQC) report I wish to reiterate my unequivocal support for the hospital and its staff. Next, I would like to formally reply to the letter in your newspaper last week from Huntingdon’s current Member of Parliament, Jonathan Djanogly, written to Mr Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health.
Mr Djanogly relates that the national interest around the fate of our hospital has led to him being approached by national media journalists to comment on the possibility of a degree of bureaucratic and political collusion to financially penalise and/or downgrade the achievements of the hospital. He highlights an issue of “politically biased staff within the hospital using their political agenda to influence the inspectors”.
I assume, as the only hospital staff member from over 240 people interviewed by the independent CQC organisation who has actually been identified in these national news reports, that this is an indirect reference to me.
I am grateful to my employer organisation – Cambridge Community Services (CCS) NHS Trust – for their support but I would also appreciate the opportunity to respond to Mr Djanogly’s statement personally. As the acute lead for paediatric services run by CCS NHS Trust on the Hinchingbrooke Hospital site, I was one of a number of NHS staff from CCS NHS Trust who was invited as a group, to a face-to-face meeting with CQC Inspectors. We answered questions about paediatric services provided by Hinchingbrooke Hospital NHS Trust and the interaction with our own NHS organisation. My political views had no impact on discussions at this meeting and the meeting itself – which is a normal part of all CQC inspections – was just one element of a much wider inspection process.
As the CQC has clarified, anything said is tested against other data and what is seen by inspectors; no one piece of information or the views of a single person will determine the CQC’s judgement on a service. The Children’s services at Hinchingbrooke Hospital have an excellent reputation and I am very proud to work as a doctor in the Children’s Unit run by CCS NHS Trust. Over the last nine years I have worked tirelessly and collaboratively for the provision of the highest quality paediatric care in all areas on the Hinchingbrooke Hospital site and I am absolutely committed to maintaining the highest standards and level of provision in the future. I have never wavered from that aim and hope that both the Hinchingbrooke Hospital Trust and the CCS Trust will continue to work together successfully.
Although I am currently campaigning as the Labour Party candidate to be the constituency’s next Member of Parliament, at heart I am, and always will be, a doctor whose guiding and overriding principles are deep-rooted in the Hippocratic Oath and the founding ideals of the National Health Service. When considering the issues raised in Mr Djanogly’s letter I hope the readers of the Hunts Post will take into account this additional information in assessing for themselves what has been previously reported. Mr Djanogly has called on the Secretary of State for Health for an inquiry. I would welcome this as a further opportunity to clarify my professional and non-political involvement in the recent events at the hospital.
DR NIK JOHNSON Labour Party Parliamentary Candidate for Huntingdon
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