Spotlight on: Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

18 July 2013

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Spotlight on: Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

The Health Secretary has revealed that 11 hospital trusts listed in a shocking report of care failures have been placed under "special measures".

After the publication of Professor Sir Bruce Keogh's review into 14 trusts, Jeremy Hunt reiterated that all of the trusts have been ordered to act on recommendations made by health officials. In this article Mistreatment.com looks at the underlying faults at one of the trusts highlighted in the report: 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.

The Keogh Report found that facilities within the trust were particularly worrying. Inspectors found patients were forced to stay up to two weeks in temporary areas without shower facilities at the very least. Quoting from the report itself, inspectors said:

 “For example there were no showers for in-patients in AMU [Acute Medical Unit] where patients were staying for periods of up to 14 days.”

The inadequate state of facilities was compounded by underlying staffing issues, with the levels of staff available wholly disproportionate to the requirements of patients. Patients were left in ambulances “stacked” outside A&E as the hospital failed to cope with demand and those inside the hospital were repeatedly moved during an in-patient stay. The report also discovered that nursing staff levels were especially low, with one nurse left caring for 10 patients at a time during a night shift, and patients waiting for 14 hours in casualty.

The overall finding of the report tallied with the overall theme of that of the Francis Report which was that the trust, amongst many others, was too focused on the ‘bottom line’ of financial targets at the expense of patient care as the primary objective. Additionally, this trust in particular needed to improve its bed management, patient flows, infection control and to review staffing levels for nursing and medical staff.

Following the leaving of Basildon hospital’s former chief executive, Alan Whittle in September 2012 after initially resisting repeated calls to resign, the trust stated that they

“Welcome the feedback from the Keogh report. While it recognises a significant transformation programme is already under way here, we take very seriously the areas identified as needing urgent and further action and are addressing them as a priority.”

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.