Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Microbiolgy Services 'Blighted' by Move to Scunthorpe

This Lincolnshire Echo reported yesterday that mislaid samples and delays have blighted the work of hospital staff after microbiology services were moved out of Lincoln, according to former consultant, Dr. Christopher Brightman who has told the paper that it took him
"considerably longer"
to get hold of certain results following the closure of the on-site microbiology laboratory at Lincoln County Hospital.

The service was transferred to Scunthorpe General Hospital by operator Path Links in April, with samples from patients in Lincoln now required to travel more than 27 miles for testing.

Dr. Brightman said he took early retirement from his microbiologist consultant role at Lincoln County Hospital in October, when he felt he could no longer deliver the same 'high standard' of service to his colleagues. Earlier in the month health officials labelled the transfer a success and said turnaround times for samples had become quicker since the move.

However, a source who serves on the Health Scrutiny Committee has reported that at the meeting of the committee the Acting Chief Executive, Mr. Bernard Chalk, was not not expecting to provide a detailed report on the impact of the move, blagged his way through when pressed by Chairman Cllr. Mrs. Christine Talbot, Conservative (Bracebridge Heath and Waddington Division), in spite of the expectations of the committee to the contrary.

Mr. Chalk also told the last Lincolnshire Health Scrutiny Committee the quality of service had improved. However, Dr Brightman, who currently works as a locum general practitioner, said he took exception to that remark.

"I always found my work satisfying and enjoyable.

"We had a happy department and I believe that my colleague, our staff and I provided an excellent service, so I take great exception to the remark that the 'quality of the service has improved', since in my personal opinion that is not the case.

"My plan was to continue to work until I reached retirement age. However, I decided to retire at the end of this October since I did not believe that I could continue to provide a high standard of service to clinical colleagues without a laboratory on site.

"It took considerably longer to obtain results, I could no longer discuss technical problems with my staff, which is important since many results have to be interpreted by experienced technical and medical staff before appropriate advice can be given to clinicians."

Cllr. Mrs. Talbot has reported to me that Mr. Chalk has been invited back to Health Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday, 27th January 2010.

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