Apology over 'uncaring' NHS staff in Greater Manchester


A hospital trust in Greater Manchester has apologised for the "unacceptable behaviour" of some of its staff revealed in a Channel 4 documentary.

Dispatches' reporters filmed staff at North Manchester General Hospital making derogatory remarks, ignoring, and raising their voices at patients.

Pennine Acute Trust said it will investigate examples of "uncaring and unsympathetic" attitudes.

It rejected claims that patient care was compromised to meet NHS targets.

In one scene a nurse was filmed repeatedly raising her voice and telling an elderly patient to eat against her will at North Manchester Hospital.

'Uncomfortable viewing'

The documentary called Undercover Hospital also filmed at the trust's Royal Oldham Hospital between December 2010 and March.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has been requested by the trust to carry out an independent judgement. During its most recent inspection in January, the CQC found the trust's hospitals to be of a "uniformly high standard".

John Saxby, trust chief executive, said: "There were examples of unacceptable behaviour and what came across to be an uncaring and unsympathetic attitude towards some patients by some of our staff which made for uncomfortable viewing.

"We all need to learn lessons from this.

"Making comments and derogatory remarks about patients, and the use of inappropriate language, is clearly unacceptable, even if it was filmed covertly.

"Where the programme has highlighted examples of unacceptable staff behaviour towards patients, these will be investigated and dealt with in line with the trust's disciplinary procedures.

"We apologise for this unacceptable behaviour.

"We do not accept the unfounded, unsubstantiated and very serious allegation that medical and nursing staff might compromise patient care to meet NHS targets."

The trust also runs Fairfield General Hospital in Bury, Rochdale Infirmary and some services at Birch Hill Hospital, Rochdale.

Government savings targets mean that it needs to reduce its £580m budget by £45m or 7.75% in 2011 to 2012.

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