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Swale West Tory veteran Keith Ferrin says privatise 'lousy' Medway Maritime Hospital

By Hayley Robinson

Former county councillor Keith Ferrin is calling for Medway Maritime to be privatised.

The views of the veteran Conservative, who lost his Swale West seat in last year’s elections, comes just weeks after the chief inspector of hospitals said he still has “strong concerns” about standards at the Gillingham-based hospital.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt told MPs last month that Medway NHS Foundation Trust was one of five out of 11 said to be failing last year which will remain in special measures until improvements are made.

The trust runs the Medway Maritime Hospital, Gillingham

The latest inspection by the chief inspector, Prof Sir Mike Richards, and the Care Quality Commission had shown little progress had been made in key areas such as A&E and surgery, which were rated inadequate.

Mr Ferrin, who served at County Hall for 37 years, spent three months in Medway last year when complications set in after he broke his hip in a fall.

He said: “The simple unvarnished truth is that it is a lousy hospital.

“That is not to say that the staff are all bad, some of them are very good indeed; but they are all working in a place where the management is generally appalling and patient care often comes way down their list of priorities.”

The 68-year-old, of Woodgate Lane, Borden, added: “Why on earth do they expect nurses working constant 13.5 hour shifts to do a good job?

“How can it be right for the major hospital serving more than 500,000 people to effectively operate only five days a week?

Keith Ferrin has died at the age of 70

“Why do they carry on serving such foul food? I lost five stones in the 12 weeks I spent there last year.

“The simple fact is the NHS has tried again and again to sort Medway out and completely failed to do so”

Mr Ferrin said he has not made a formal complaint to the hospital because a previous complaint he made following treatment for a heart condition 12 years ago was met with a long letter dismissing all his concerns.

He added: “We deserve much better. I do not normally favour privatising services like hospitals but now it is time to try a different approach in Medway.

“I would like to see a private company take over the hospital.

“No one would have to pay for their care; but there would at least be some real chance of the hospital improving.

“One thing is for sure, a privatised Medway could not possible be any worse than it is now.”

A Medway Maritime Hospital spokesman said: “If Mr Ferrin is unhappy with any element of his care at the hospital he needs to get in touch with us so that we can have those conversations with him directly.”

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