Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)


Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)


Article excerpt


HOSPITAL managers are today at the centre of a new row over distorted waiting-list figures.

Private emails leaked to the Evening Standard suggest managers at a leading London hospital encouraged junior staff to cover up a backlog of operations.

A senior executive at the hospital treating the Countess of Wessex's new baby told colleagues he had "instructed" junior staff "not to month we would not report the total position."

He then lamented the clerk's lack of "political insight", adding: "I met with Traci yesterday and explained very nicely to her that it is her job to report the numbers, and it is my job to manage the politics, and that she must make me aware of any problems, rather than just reporting numbers up the line." In his email, Mr Parkes describes the discovery of the extra 1,450 patients as a "huge cock-up".

When asked today about the emails, the hospital claimed senior managers wanted to let the new figures out in stages to avoid creating the impression of a massive increase in one particular month. A spokesman later claimed that adding all the newly The emails involve the waiting list for outpatient treatment at St George's Hospital, Tooting. They were exchanged after staff discovered that 1,450 more people were waiting for treatment than previously realised - putting the hospital 100 per cent behind its target.

The emails reveal managers hoped to "drip-feed" the real figure onto the waiting-list total over a period of months to avoid embarrassment.

But the plan was thwarted when a conscientious clerk - named only as Traci - told civil servants the true position.

The move sparked the wrath of her boss, St George's deputy chief executive John Parkes, who fired off an email to senior colleagues complaining: "I gave Traci an instruction by email that for last

discovered patients to the official figure at once could put managers under intense pressure to treat them immediately - a move that could have an adverse effect on other patients. …

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