NHS poor care results in 10k avoidable deaths per year

17 September 2014

NHS poor care results in 10k avoidable deaths per year

NHS regulatory organisation the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has advanced the view that approximately 10,000 patients die each year by the "dangerously" variable treatment by hospital and doctors in England. 

According to a report published in The Guardian on Tuesday, CQC chair David Prior warned that many patients receive poor care which leads to thousands of avoidable patient deaths each year. This in turn has led to an overall increase in the volume of incidents of medical mistreatment, resulting in greater numbers of medical negligence claims where patients seek access to justice for themselves and their loved ones.

In the article, Prior claimed that “any assessment of the NHS can only have one possible conclusion,” and that is care standards are sometimes dangerously highly variable.

Dangerously variable treatment

"We have some outstanding hospitals, we have some inadequate hospitals. And the variation in primary care between different GP practices is probably even greater," he said.

Since March of this year the CQC has had its inspectors visit 40 hospitals in England, grading five of them with the worst ranking of "inadequate".

Prior explained the risk caused by the NHS care quality variation, adding that not only does it matter that anywhere between “3,000 and 10,000” people die avoidably each year, but it "also matters because variation strikes at the heart of the NHS and its core principle that everyone should receive good quality care free at the point of delivery. In fact they do not."

Prior’s estimate is actually lower than that given by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, which puts the annual deaths caused by NHS staff at around 12,000.

Hunt said "utterly, utterly shocking [things] are happening week in, week out in our NHS", for example feeding tubes are inserted into patient's lungs instead of their stomach. 

The CQC is a non-departmental public body of the British government which was formed in 2009 to regulate and inspect health and social care services in England.

What you can do

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.