THURROCK’S MP has branded the level of care at Basildon Hospital “rotten” as a major investigation begins into high death rates.

Jackie Doyle-Price, Conservative, gave her damning opinion after the announcement that a probe into mortality rates would be conducted by NHS medical director Prof Bruce Keogh.

Mrs Doyle-Price has long been vocal about the problems at the hospital, which has been the subject of several damning reports by health watchdogs.

It now faces another investigation, after the findings of a public inquiry into the deaths of more than 1,000 patients at Mid Staffordshire hospitals raised concerns about care across the NHS.

The hospital is one of five being investigated across the country, which have higher then acceptable death rates.

Mrs Doyle-Price said: “I feel vindicated because I feel like I’ve been banging my head against a brick wall. Now I have been proved right.

“There is a culture of poor care in that hospital which is so rotten no one can turn it around overnight.”

The MP said she had been trying to get answers from the hospital over its continued failings for three years.

She blamed the hospital’s previous chief executive Alan Whittle, who left in September 2012, and chairman Michael Large, who left in 2011, of presiding over a “culture of complacency” at the hospital.

She also criticised the hospital’s non-executive directors for failing to challenge the hospital’s senior managers over the crisis.

Mrs Doyle-Price said the problems identified at Mid Staffordshire between 2005 and 2009 could be the same at Basildon.

She said: “If you read the Mid Staffordshire report, as I have, you could have substituted the place for Basildon and it would be the same story.

“What the Prime Minister said, although he was making a statement about Mid Staffordshire, is the problems there are systemic, which is why we are looking at other hospitals.

“I would concur with the Prime Minister that there is a culture of complacency in individual hospitals.

“Whenever I challenged the chief executive and chairman they were dismissive and told me Basildon was no worse than anywhere else, but that isn’t good enough.

“Some of them just turn up and take the money. They have totally failed in their duty to the local community and I’m quite sure this will all come out in the review.”

Mrs Doyle-Price added introducing a tougher regulatory system for hospitals was the only way to prevent the crisis happening again.

She added: “Since the last chairman and chief executive have gone I detect, from the new people in place at Basildon Hospital, a much more responsible attitude and I’m not seeing the complacency I saw before.”