Ex-mayor attacks clerical cuts

PUBLISHED: 12:23 14 September 2006 | UPDATED: 10:54 06 May 2010

A FORMER mayor has said cuts to the number of clerical staff at a hospital is having a detrimental effect on patients. Bob Fowler, 71, who was Stevenage mayor in 1977 and again in 1991, said medical staff at Lister Hospital need more clerical support not

A FORMER mayor has said cuts to the number of clerical staff at a hospital is having a detrimental effect on patients.

Bob Fowler, 71, who was Stevenage mayor in 1977 and again in 1991, said medical staff at Lister Hospital need more clerical support not less.

After suffering a heart attack and stroke last year Mr Fowler, of Trent Close, is now waiting for a hernia operation.

He said: "The problem lies with a system of poor organisation and liaison within and between each hospital. It also lies greatly with insufficient staff struggling to keep up with the backlog of secretarial work."

But the East and North Herts NHS Trust which runs Lister Hospital hit back. Chief executive Nick Carver said: "While this is still being investigated, the simple fact of the matter is that Mr Fowler is under the care of doctors at Harefield for a heart condition.

"Quite rightly our surgeons are waiting for notification from their colleagues that Mr Fowler's heart condition is such that the hernia operation can go ahead without risking his health.

"We understand his concerns but making confusing allegations about inadequate administration and communication is clearly not the issue here.

"It's one of patient safety and while I am very sorry that Mr Fowler has had to wait longer then we would like, it is entirely right that our clinical team should satisfy themselves that it is safe for us to operate.

"We are chasing Harefield for this information and as soon as we receive it - and assuming that it is safe to operate - then our surgeons will seek to ensure that Mr Fowler gets the treatment he needs as soon as possible."

Mr Fowler, who was a councillor for more than 30 years, said he wanted to present his own case as well as raise awareness of what is happening in the local NHS.

He said during his time in hospital he saw piles of medical files stored on a medical secretary's floor.

He said: "Medical staff have repeatedly asked the management to increase their secretarial support. These requests have been unsuccessful. Like many others I am now asking, not for sympathy, but action.

"I am concerned that many of the people I used to serve as a councillor, who depend on the Lister and Harefield hospitals, are not receiving the care which they helped to pay for by their national health insurance contributions during their working lives.

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