A Spotlight On NHS Trusts Under Investigation

16 July 2013

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A Spotlight On NHS Trusts Under Investigation

The Stafford Hospital scandal and ensuing Francis Report have highlighted endemic failings in patient care and healthcare at 14 hospital trusts named as being under investigation due to their high death rates.

Medical negligence solicitors at Mistreatment.com handle cases relating to poor care against hospitals throughout England and Wales, and some of the existing clients we deal with include some hospitals within those trusts under investigation.

After Government Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has affirmed that among 14 hospital trusts investigated for high death rates, will require major structural changes and special measures to counter entrenched and systematic failures within their organisational structures, Mistreatment.com looks below at what has been said about each hospital trust which has been placed under the spotlight.

All 14 have been closely watched by regulators, though significant steps such as the closure of units have not been put into action. This is believed to because the underlying faults identified have not been on the scale uncovered at Stafford.

Buckinghamshire and Basildon and Thurrock currently have warning notices from the Care Quality Commission which means they have been told to make improvements. If they do not they could face fines or restrictions on what they can do.

Another regulator, Monitor, has placed five in special conditions; one of these is on Basildon and Thurrock. These are related to on-going financial or governance problems and means they are being closely monitored by the regulator.

Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Not the first Essex hospital to come under review, among some of the more worrying faults identified at this Trust were the number of ‘never events’ identified, which was a total of seven ‘never events’ in three years. These are serious, largely preventable patient safety incidents, such as leaving behind swabs or surgical instruments in patients that should not occur if the available preventative measures have been implemented. The Trust has also been criticised for its infection control measures and staffing levels

Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

The Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust has responsibility for Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Amersham Hospital and a series of community services provided across the county. The shortcomings identified include nursing staff failures in dealing with patients nutritional and medication needs. Staff were also criticised for their care of patients with dementia.

Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

The Department of Health figures showed that the Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust had 1,257 deaths from April 2010 to March 2011, compared to 1,121 that were expected. The trust provides services from four main sites: Queen's Hospital, the Treatment Centre, Samuel Johnson Community Hospital and Sir Robert Peel Community Hospital and the report identified concerns about safety as staff were found to be working for 12 days in a row with no break.

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust

Suspicion initially fell upon this trust due to the number of mortality rates at Burnley and Blackburn Hospitals which comes under their governance. The trust was additionally criticised for poor governance, inadequate staffing levels at weekends and for staff "talking down" to patients and their families when they voiced concerns.

George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust

Criticised for its out of hours care and for its poor track record on bed sores.

Medway NHS Foundation Trust

Medway NHS Foundation Trust runs Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham, and was one of the trusts which had particularly high mortality rates. Additionally, in February 2012 the BBC revealed that the trust was one of four in Kent that had seen the amount of compensation paid out for medical negligence claims double in the last seven years.

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust (Two hospitals - Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland)

The trust is responsible for services at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven. It also runs a birthing centre at Penrith Community Hospital. Findings criticised poor maintenance of two of its operating theatres.

Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (Three hospitals - Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital, Goole and District Hospital and Scunthorpe General)

Placed under special measures, the trust was criticised for its out of hours care provision and stroke services. Its provision of patient dignity was also questioned. Trust chief executive Karen Jackson stated that  

“There are no surprises in the final report. It reinforces what we already know and are working on, and reassures us that we are addressing the right issues. The majority of the recommended actions are already being implemented. However, we need to make more progress, faster.

Patient safety and quality of care is always our top priority. People can be reassured that we are committed to putting our patients, their safety and wellbeing at the very heart of everything we do"


Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Feedback from patients treated by the trust revealed many were left unaware who was caring for them and bedside buzzers often went unanswered. The trust was already on the radar of Care Quality Commission (CQC) who had already contacted the trust regarding high death rates from septicaemia.

Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

The finding of an alarming mortality rate at Tameside Hospital in Greater Manchester was highlighted by the report and comes on the back of recently flagged issues regarding bed shortages and allegations of poor care from patients. Additionally, Jeremy Hunt highlighted the issue of patients being left on unmanned trolleys for excessive periods of time.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust is responsible for the Pilgrim Hospital, in Boston, Grantham and District Hospital and Lincoln County Hospital. This was a trust which also criticised for the unacceptable number of “never events” 12 in three years. The Trust was also criticised for having 12 "never events" in three years and there were 'serious concerns' about how some staff had filled out 'Do not resuscitate' forms. The Trust, however, was not placed on special measures.

Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust

Although not placed on special measures, the East Anglian Daily Times identified 2,151 patients deaths recorded at both Colchester and Essex County Hospital, 16 per cent higher than predicted. Despite this the trust has stated that the number of deaths at both hospitals have been falling year-on-year.

The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust

Not placed on special measures, but according to regulator Monitor, the governance risk rating for this foundation trust was amended from GREEN to AMBER-RED in May 2013 due the trust's breach of the 62 day Cancer (Urgent GP referral target) and A&E maximum 4 hour waiting time target in Q4 2012/13.

If you have experienced any form of medical mistreatment at any of the above mentioned trusts, or want to better understand exactly what your patient rights are, Mistreatment.com are pleased to offer advice and support to you. Our specialists have wide experience of providing advice and support across a number of areas relating to potential medical mistreatment, such as misdiagnosis and delay and surgery errors, for example.