Superbug Scandal Chief Given New Hospital Job; Fury: Ruth Harrison Was in Charge at a Hospital Where Died from Superbug

The Evening Standard (London, England), March 3, 2008 | Go to article overview
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Superbug Scandal Chief Given New Hospital Job; Fury: Ruth Harrison Was in Charge at a Hospital Where Died from Superbug


Byline: AMY IGGULDEN

PATIENTS reacted with fury today after a London hospital hired a healthchief who presided over a superbug scandal.

Ruth Harrison was given a [pounds sterling]140,000 "golden goodbye" to leave a hospital trustwhere 33 died amid shocking hygiene standards.

Now she is being paid tens of thousands as a consultant to Epsom and St HelierHospital in Surrey and local primary care trusts. Health bosses have asked MsHarrison to lead a review into children and maternity services that could seewards closed.

Campaigners demanded to know how a manager who left Stoke Mandeville Hospitalwith "soaring infection rates" and a "golden goodbye" can still be paid by theNHS.

She left Buckinghamshire Hospitals NHS trust in 2006 one day before a damningreport cited serious faults in its leadership.

The health watchdog highlighted appalling hygiene standards including dirtywards, faeces on bedrails and soiled commodes. It accused managers of"significant failings" after they compromised patient safety by failing tolisten to their own experts.

Between October 2003 and June 2005, when Ms Harrison was leading the trust, atleast 33 patients died from the stomach bug Clostridium difficile and 334became seriously ill.

Healthcare Commission inspectors later wrote: "[We] consider there weresignificant failings on the part of the leadership at the trust and haverecommended that the leadership change.

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