Keep Our St Helier Hospital

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The tale of the tarpaulin

As we have previously highlighted (see links here, here, and here especially) the Epsom & St Helier Trust has produced a document they call their "Estates Review".

The document is riddled with contradictions, some of which we will go into elsewhere. It appears to have been drafted to give the impression of a hospital trust whose buildings are not fit for purpose - presumably to justify the closure or demolition of our local hospitals.

On the 12th of February 2016, the Trust held a board meeting, where one of the items under discussion was the Estates Review. In support of this, on the same day they published a document entitled TB009/16. Page 22 of this document contains the following (red highlight added for emphasis):

From Page 22 of TB009-16 12-02-2016

From Page 22 of TB009-16 12-02-2016

The text says "A&E currently has plastic sheeting on its roof to stop the rain getting in...". So, we have an explanation that the roof of the A&E department "Currently" has a tarpaulin on it, along with a photograph of said tarp. Remembering that this document was issued on the 12th of February 2016, let's take a closer look at the photo:

Close up of photo on page 22 of TB009/16

Close up of photo on page 22 of TB009/16

As we can see, the image above shows some sort of temporary repair which was presumably carried out at some point in the past, to a flat roof over the A&E department at St Helier hospital.

As you can imagine, we at KOSHH thought we'd take a look at this for ourselves, so on the 13th of February 2016 (the day after the trust board meeting) we went along to the hospital. Obviously unlike the photographer of the above picture, we weren't able to venture out onto the roof but we were able to have a fairly good look from the stairwell overlooking it. We took this photograph:

20160213_160425

20160213_160425

As you can see, there doesn't appear to be any sign of a tarpaulin, or indeed the wooden structure it was attached to.

To be absolutely sure, we took some photographs from street level. Note particularly the area highlighted in red:

Street view

And here's a close-up of the same photograph:Street view close up

Note that there is a diagonal mark on the wall, presumably a consequence of the tarpaulin having been there, in the past, while awaiting repairs to the flat roof, but there was no sign of the blue sheeting.

As you can imagine, we found it very surprising that the Trust would publish a document on Friday the 12th of February 2016, which flagged up a tarpaulin on the roof, when the tarpaulin in question was certainly not in evidence on the very next day.

This "tale of the tarpaulin" had been used a number of times by the Trust Chief Executive, Daniel Elkeles at various meetings (including the one detailed here).

Update: the Trust held an "Estates engagement event" (read a report about it here) on the 19th of March 2016, at which they used a slide show in their presentation, containing the slide below, which as you can see, also contained the same image - more than a month after the above photos were taken.

Slide #8 used at Estates Event on 19th of March 2016 - Note the top left photo.

Slide #8 used at Estates Event on 19th of March 2016 - Note the photos in the top left corner.

 

Summary of important dates and events:

  • 12th February 2016 - Trust board meeting, document is published which claims that there is "currently" a tarpaulin on the roof.
  • 13th February 2016 - Photos showing no tarpaulin on the roof
  • 19th March 2016 - "Estates Event", slide is shown, containing photo of blue tarpaulin on roof, which was long gone by this time.

Surely the Trust wouldn't try to justify a "not fit for purpose" claim by publishing photographs showing temporary repairs, and giving the impression that this was still the case, when the sheeting in question was long gone at this time?

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Updated: 14/04/2016 — 17:08

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