We launched the We Love QA appeal several weeks ago in the wake of a Care Quality Commission report into the hospital that was, frankly, damning.
This inspection not only acknowledged what we already knew about problems with the capacity in A&E and the knock-on effect on the rest of the hospital, but it also raised some questions about the safety of patients and the care they were given.
It was bad news, make no mistake about it.
But, and it’s a big but, the report didn’t reflect the experiences of many people who pass through the hospital. There’s no reason to doubt the veracity or accuracy of the CQC inspectors – but on the other hand our letters page is forever carrying songs of praise to the hospital and all who work in her.
And so we started the campaign as a way of reflecting this, and showing that a visit to QA was not a danger in itself.
And indeed the heartwarming story we report today is a textbook example of some of the experiences of QA patients.
Barrie Bradshaw suffered a heart attack and was in hospital for two days. He says he thought it would be a one-way journey for him – because of his condition, not the hospital – and cannot speak highly enough of the nurses, doctors, and indeed everyone, including the trolley lady and the cleaners.
It sounds as if Barrie will be fit to continue working, as he wishes, and his life has been returned to him by the dedication of the hospital staff.
Now, that kind of story was not apparent from the inspection that damned the hospital in August.
While we hope work is continuing to right the wrongs flagged up there, and while it is our duty to report the findings of any further inspections, tales such as Barrie’s are a cause for pause.
It’s not soft-soaping or white-washing criticism – that criticism may well be justified. But it is worth remembering that there are several sides to any institution – and to forget the good is unfair and incorrect.