Government Announces Investigation At 14 Major Hospital Trusts

16 July 2013

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Government Announces Investigation At 14 Major Hospital Trusts

Post-Stafford Hospital scandal investigation will deal with critical failings at 14 major hospital trusts, announces government Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

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.

Just some of the most endemic faults at the heart of patient care at these trusts covered staffing problems, poor care and weak leadership, poor maintenance in operating theatres and even blood being taken from patients in full view of the rest of the patients in a ward.

Whilst 11 of these trusts require improvement and subsequent monitoring to ensure compliance, the other three trusts investigated were also told to make improvements following the review. As part of the process of special measures for the other 11, teams of external experts will be sent into the organisations to work with the senior management team.

Hunt did state that investigators had confidence the leadership hierarchies at those trusts were capable of making the changes needed.

The investigation into the 14 trusts was launched earlier this year following the public inquiry into the Stafford Hospital scandal and the publishing of the Francis Report, which said the self-interest of corporate motivations, a willingness to obviate responsibility and deep bureaucracy had come at the expense of fundamental patient care and adherence to healthcare standards. The trusts were identified as they had the highest death rates in 2010-11 and 2011-12.

NHS England's medical director Prof Sir Bruce Keogh spearheaded the probe, focusing on whether the figures indicated sustained failings in the quality of care and treatment at the trusts. The criteria used to calculate hospital death rates included exhaustive statistical modelling and the overall finding was that none of the eleven trusts passed an acceptable threshold as per the standards laid down by the review teams. The onus was not only in discovering worrying faults within the trusts themselves, but to outline what was required to ameliorate the standards which were not being adhered to.

Sir Bruce said: "I felt it was crucial to provide a clear diagnosis, to write the prescription, and, most importantly, to identify what help these organisations might need to support their recovery or accelerate improvement”

Keogh’s motivation was not only in discovering the failings raised by regulators, but those beyond those identified. His team carried out two-day inspections of the trusts as well as talking to patients and staff to identify errors. These visits have yielded a diverse set of results, finding a variety of errors at different trusts. For example at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, shortcomings include nursing staff failures in dealing with patients nutritional and medication needs, whilst at Medway NHS Foundation Trust staff also criticised for their care of patients with dementia.

The 14 trusts investigated in alphabetical order are: Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust, Medway NHS Foundation Trust, North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust.

If you or a loved one has experience or knowledge of failings at the above trusts, you can contact Mistreatment.com to discuss your healthcare rights in order to make a complaint and to also make a medical negligence compensation claim with our medical negligence solicitors depending on the circumstances of what happened. 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.