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NHS trust boss says hospitals he runs are ‘worst place to be’

NHS trustee says hospitals are ‘worst place to be’ in candid admission about abysmal state of crippled healthcare system

  • Nick Hulme, who runs Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, labeled them ‘not safe’
  • The head of an NHS trust said the public had come to accept the unacceptable
  • He said ‘hey its awful places – the food is rubbish we won’t let you sleep’

Hospitals are ‘the worst place you could possibly be in the health system’ – according to the director of an NHS trust.

Nick Hulme, who runs Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, labeled them as ‘not safe places’ and added that the public had come to accept ‘the totally unacceptable’.

He said, “They’re horrible places – the food sucks, we won’t let you sleep, we won’t let you know what’s going on.”

He revealed that he had stayed in some “fairly dodgy” hotels in his time, adding that none of these were places where visitors were forced to “share a bathroom with six people.”

Nick Hulme (pictured with Boris Johnson at Colchester Hospital), who runs Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, branded them ‘not safe places’ and added that the public had come to accept ‘the totally unacceptable’.

Mr Hulme (pictured) said: 'They're awful places - the food is rubbish, we won't let you sleep, we won't let you know what's going on'

Mr Hulme (pictured) said: ‘They’re awful places – the food is rubbish, we won’t let you sleep, we won’t let you know what’s going on’

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“They are appalling and we need to get that message out,” the head of the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust said at a local Integrated Care Board meeting.

“They’re not safe places and unless you really have to be there, you shouldn’t be there.”

Two weeks ago, a patient who went to the emergency room at Ipswich Hospital with abdominal pain complained that she had been placed in a maternity ward and had to wait four days to see a doctor.

Michelle Emmerson-Grey, 44, was only seen by anyone after she tweeted Mr Hulme.

“Going without a doctor for four days and still being in agony is ridiculous,” she said, adding that the system “didn’t work.”

The hospital was also criticized in 2018 for using taxpayer money for at least 13 “virginity restoration” procedures between 2012 and 2017, which involves suturing or reconstructing the hymen.

Mr Hulme has worked in the NHS for over 35 years, becoming CEO of The Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust in 2013 and doubling up on the same role at Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust from May 2016.

The trusts merged in July 2018.

Official figures show that 356 patients waited more than 12 hours to be admitted to the trust’s emergency departments in December, while another 9,324 had to wait at least four hours.

Two weeks ago, a patient who went to the emergency room at Ipswich Hospital with abdominal pain complained that she had been placed in a maternity ward and had to wait four days to see a doctor.  Michelle Emmerson-Grey (pictured), 44, was only seen by anyone after she tweeted Mr Hulme

Two weeks ago, a patient who went to the emergency room at Ipswich Hospital with abdominal pain complained that she had been placed in a maternity ward and had to wait four days to see a doctor. Michelle Emmerson-Grey (pictured), 44, was only seen by anyone after she tweeted Mr Hulme

Nick Hulme, who runs Ipswich (pictured) and Colchester hospitals, labeled them 'not safe places' and added that the public had come to accept 'the totally unacceptable'.

Nick Hulme, who runs Ipswich (pictured) and Colchester hospitals, labeled them ‘not safe places’ and added that the public had come to accept ‘the totally unacceptable’.

Overall, only 66 percent of ER patients saw a doctor within four hours, compared to a national target of 95 percent.

Hospitals are battling winter pressure, a backlog caused by Covid-19 lockdowns, bed blocking and strikes.

At the ICB meeting on Tuesday, Mr Hulme referred to the pre-pandemic era when the hospitals he controls would have almost declared a major incident if five patients had no beds in the emergency room overnight.

He added: “Now, if it’s five, we’ll be very happy. We think it’s a good evening.’

A trust spokesman said yesterday he had responded to a question in the public meeting about community care.

‘[Hospitals are] not always the best place to be cared for,” she said.

When asked what Mr. Hulme did to improve conditions for patients, she added: “He does a lot.”

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