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Kettering General Hospital chief apologises over children's care


A chief executive whose hospital has been accused of failing children has admitted it has not always "got it right" and apologised at a public meeting.

Health and care regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has warned Kettering General Hospital (KGH) about its children's and young people's services and rated them inadequate.

Dozens of parents with children who died or became seriously ill also voiced their concerns.

Chief executive, Deborah Needham, told a public board meeting she was "here to listen" to worries.

After an inspection at the hospital, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) raised concerns about sepsis treatment, staff numbers, dirt levels and not having an "open culture" where concerns could be raised without fear.

The CQC had inspected the Northamptonshire hospital's paediatric assessment unit, Skylark ward, and the neonatal unit after hearing concerns of safety.

Parents who have raised concerns include Michaela Stevens, who said she contacted the CQC about her son Archie's care on Skylark. She believed her then 17-month-old son, who lost 500g (1.1lbs) on Skylark, was "lucky to be alive".

Hospital board papers stated there was a "significant risk that the trust has the potential to lose its paediatric services, if it fails to make the improvements required and give the assurances needed to keep children safe.”

During the public board meeting, chief executive, Ms Needham, said: "It's quite clear that we don't always get it right in healthcare and we also haven't, on occasions, got it right in our children's services.

"So, as I'd written in my last board report, I also now want to say sorry if we have let any patients or children down in our hospital. I'm truly sorry if that has been the case.

"My door is open and I'm absolutely willing to meet with anybody who would want to talk with me about their experience. I'm here to listen."

CQC inspectors also returned to Kettering to check on improvements following the issue of warning notices.

Ms Needham said inspectors' feedback "was positive, which I'm really pleased about. They said our colleagues in our children's areas were happy to be at work, which was really pleasing to hear.

"They also said that the families that they spoke to felt listened to by the staff. And again that's really good to hear because we know that hasn't always been the case in the past."