Covid Watch 20: Ludlow community outraged as local GP suspended from working at Ludlow Community Hospital

This dispute has been amicably resolved

I thought yesterday that I would not write on this. It is not that it is a minor issue but at that point I felt it was a dispute within the NHS and not for my blog. However, there has been a very strong community reaction across all social media platforms to Saturday’s announcement that Dr Catherine Beanland has been suspended from working at Ludlow Community Hospital.

I don’t intend to get involved in a dispute which appears to be about interpretations of protocols, not the safety of patients and medical professionals. I just want to convey the very loud message that I am hearing from across our community. There are more important things to deal with right now. We need all the medical professionals we can get. We need them all to work together. We need them and their patients to remain safe.

We would not be as far ahead with community preparations for the lockdown and for Covid-19 hitting Ludlow if Dr Beanland had not driven the agenda forward with other health professionals, councillors and volunteers. She was the driving force behind the public meeting that brought us all together and helped launch Pulling Together Ludlow which is now at the centre of our community response to the biggest crisis of our lifetimes.

Statement from Portcullis Surgery

A statement from Dr Chris Targett, GP Partner at Portcullis Surgery, Ludlow.  

Dr Catherine Beanland, a GP partner at Portcullis surgery, Ludlow has today been told her services are no longer required by Ludlow hospital due to concerns raised by her to hospital managers regarding their lack of preparedness for Covid-19.

Dr Beanland, with the support of her team at Portcullis Surgery, has been leading the Ludlow’s response to the Covid-19 challenge having single handedly organised the ‘Pulling together Ludlow’ group as well as spending countless hours of her own time advising local groups of GP practice’s on their response provision. As a Ludlow GP partner, along with her colleagues, she provides medical care to half of the patients on Dinham ward at Ludlow community hospital and has over recent weeks advised the trust on a number of occasions that she believes that their response with respect to the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff and appropriate isolation of possible Covid-19 patients has been dangerously lacking. The trust has been very slow to adopt these patient safety critical changes and today Dr Beanland was informed to no longer provide patient care on the hospital ward.

Because of the huge pressure on local GP services as a consequence of the Covid-19 outbreak Dr Beanland has been taking the extra step of wearing PPE to the hospital to try to protect the patients and prevent her catching the virus because of the significant impact this could make on the town’s provision of primary care but the Shropshire community trust stated she was not following national guidance and frightening both patients and staff by her use of PPE on the ward.  

We are now concerned about how Ludlow patients will have the services they need and deserve due to the lack of resilience in the medical care provided for the hospital now that 2 out of the 5 doctors who cover the ward have been told to stop providing this cover.  

Undoubtedly much of Ludlow if not the country will feel as we all do at the practice, that this represents a profoundly misguided decision in the management of an GP who is only trying to make things as safe as possible for the frail and vulnerable patients on the community hospital ward.

On behalf of Portcullis Surgery,

Dr Chris Targett

Partner Portcullis Surgery

Statement from ShropCom

Dr Jane Povey, Medical Director at Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust, said: “We have reminded people of the importance of sticking to national guidelines on the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during this challenging period.

“The safety of our staff is of paramount importance at all times – and never more so than in the current situation facing us as a country. We fully adhere to national guidelines on the use of PPE and are in regular dialogue with Public Health England to ensure we can immediately respond to any changes in those guidelines.

“National guidelines have been put in place to keep NHS staff and patients safe, and to ensure PPE is used consistently. We must use PPE responsibly and cannot disregard those guidelines in one hospital and start applying a different policy.

“In order to further strengthen medical provision on our community hospital wards, we are piloting a seven-day medical rota led by our community hospital medical advisors.”

8 comments on Covid Watch 20: Ludlow community outraged as local GP suspended from working at Ludlow Community Hospital

  1. Welcome to China. The first doctor to raise the presence of the Coronavirus was disciplined for spreading alarm, died of the disease, and was subsequently exonerated. The current official line about personal protection equipment is inadequate and as far as I can see entirely linked to the fact that there is not enough of the right equipment rather than what are the correct medical precautions. I am not a doctor but a member of my family is, and he is scathing about the flat-footed response of the government. Typical Shropshire response to go overboard like this. Climb down now before it makes you look even more stupid.

  2. I agree with “Outraged”. Surely this is an issue where our ex health minister MP Philip Dunne should step in and move on very quickly indeed. The Community Hospitals Trust have overseen closures of wards and our Midwife led maternity units. Time to re-address the balance a act like grown ups. This is a life and death issue for both patients and health professionals and there is o room for petty squabbling.

  3. Agree with comments above. Towing the NHS line more important than common sense, it would seem. Anyone taken aback by PPE has clearly not been aware of its use around the world during this pandemic, which is unlikely given film of staff suited up on every news broadcast for the last 2 months.
    We’ll fire off an email to Philip Dunne immediately . What else can we do?

  4. Ludlow hospital management should be ashamed. In my opinion any medical staff member should be allowed to wear PPE to protect themselves and others, it is a worrying time. Frontline staff are contracting the virus and we have already had the death of a surgeon in one hospital and others very poorly with it. All staff should now be provided with PPE and the doctor should be reinstated with an apology for this stupid decision to suspend her.

  5. So when the long-overdue PPE does reach Ludlow, and our medics can be equipped as per WHO advice, will they have to wait until every last medic and social worker in UK also has it? Time to put Matron back in charge.

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