UNISON on The Vale of Leven Hospital Inquiry report

Date: Mon 24 November 2014

Commenting on the long-awaited independent inquiry into patient deaths at the Vale of Leven Hospital which was published today (Monday) UNISON regional organiser, Matt McLaughlin, said:

“The outbreak of C difficile at Vale of Leven in 2007/08 was tragic and, even this long after the deaths, our thoughts must be with the people who lost relatives and friends because of the failures set out in Lord MacLean’s report.

“Public service workers don’t go to work and expect to find themselves at the centre of such heartbreaking and difficult circumstances. Our members want to help people get better and we are pleased this report recognises the reasons for this tragedy were systemic, rather than person-centred.

“It is fair to say that NHS Glasgow and Clyde has now put in place systems that would recognise a similar trend were it to occur today and this is to be welcomed. However, the report also identifies many issues that are sadly not uncommon across Scotland and that our nursing members have been raising for a long time: short staffing, lack of equipment, wrong skill mix and little or no extra staffing when clinical needs on the ward change.

“Hospital cleanliness and investment in cleanliness remains a major issue for our members and health boards and politicians must learn lessons from this report and realise the need to invest properly in our public services. It is clear that continued uncertainty over the strategic importance of a hospital can have a direct impact on care that is provided. Health boards and politicians therefore need to be clear about their directions of travel.

“UNISON is pleased this report in now finally published and we want to work with our members to ensure patients are put first right across the NHS in Scotland. Effective systems of cleaning, safe staffing levels and a focus on patients and patient-facing workers is key to ensuring there is not a repeat of this tragedy.”.