NHS blunders have had ‘devastating impact’ on patient care, says Ombudsman

29 October 2014

NHS blunders have had ‘devastating impact’ on patient care, says Ombudsman

The NHS has been severely criticised in a new Ombudsman’s report which lays bare a catalogue of blunders that have had a ‘devastating impact’ of generations of patients. The mistakes range from incorrect discharges to misdiagnosis of cancer with a catalogue of avoidable deaths and needless patient suffering amongst NHS hospitals.

The parliamentary and health service ombudsman have revealed findings detailing 161 investigations carried out between April-June 2014 and which have included complaints about failings in diagnosis of cancer and incorrect discharge of patients from hospitals.

Mistreatment.com provides advice, support and guidance to patients and their loved ones who have experienced medical mistreatment and many of the enquiries received from the public tally with the common incidents of neglect highlighted in the report.

The ombudsman, Dame Julie Mellor, said the investigations showed the “devastating impact” failures in public services could have on patients and their loved ones.

She said: “A shocking case that stood out was that of a one-day-old baby who suffered permanent brain damage at Barts Health NHS trust in London because a nurse and two doctors made serious mistakes during a blood transfusion.

“We are increasingly concerned about patients being discharged unsafely from hospital. Unplanned admissions and re-admissions are a massive cost to the NHS.

“We are publishing these summaries so public services, MPs and members of the public can see the different types of complaints we look into, our findings and recommendations.

“I hope this will give people with concerns about the service they have received the confidence to come to us to complain. We also want to provide valuable lessons for public services, and show how complaining makes a positive difference to them.”

Complaint Case Study: Liver Biopsy Misdiagnosis

An investigated complaint by the Ombudsman concerned Barking, Havering and Redbridge university hospitals NHS trust, where a man died following a liver biopsy. After looking into what happened, the investigation found the patient had an inadequate care plan, was incorrectly discharged from A&E and that he did not consent to the biopsy. Before his death, he was not properly monitored after the procedure, was given the wrong medicine and the trust lost his clinical records.

Complaint Case Study:  Intestinal Bleed Misdiagnosis

In this investigated complaint, a man should not have been discharged from a Bedford hospital NHS trust A&E after complaining of nausea, vomiting and constipation which lasted three days. The day after discharge, he was admitted to hospital where surgery revealed he had suffered a complete loss of blood supply to his small intestine.

Complaint Case Study: Stomach and Bowel Cancer Misdiagnosis

After surgery at Wirral University teaching hospital NHS foundation trust a woman was told that she had stomach and bowel cancer and would need treatment and tests. Instead of further action no tests were arranged and a surgical consultant told her she did not have cancer. Sadly, five weeks later she was told by the same consultant that she did in fact have the disease.

Five weeks later, the same consultant told her she did in fact have the disease.

Complaint Case Study: Cardiovascular Misdiagnosis

A man was not told at Blackpool teaching hospitals NHS foundation trust, after complaining of chest pain, that he was at risk of a heart attack and early death if he flew on holiday. After going on holiday he did indeed suffer a fatal heart attack and stroke there.

“Catalogue of poor care”

Mistreatment.com regularly assists members of the public with how to contact and complaint to the ombudsman who is often seen as the final step in the complaints process when raising awareness about poor NHS service in England. In 2013-14 the ombudsman service investigated 2,199 cases of medical mistreatment and complaint-a huge rise on the 384 seen in 2012-13.

The shadow health minister Jamie Reed said: “This catalogue of poor care shows an NHS heading in the wrong direction. Hospitals are full to bursting – struggling to admit or discharge patients – and these reports make clear there isn’t enough staff to cope.

“Under David Cameron, half of nurses say their ward is dangerously understaffed. Labour will invest an extra £2.5bn to recruit 20,000 more nurses and help hospitals to provide safer care.

“By wasting £3bn on a reorganisation, David Cameron is making care problems more likely, not less. It is proof you can’t trust him with the NHS.”

Patient Care Options

Have you or a loved one wanted to raise a complaint with the NHS  regarding medical mistreatment that has been experienced? Our specialist teams can provide FREE advice about what your options are, whether you want to make a medical negligence claim or medical mistreatment complaint or simply to better understand what your patient rights. You can contact us here today for  a no-obligation and completely free conversation to discuss what happened to you.