Spotlight on: Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

18 July 2013

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Spotlight on: Burton 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 looks at the underlying faults at one of the trusts highlighted in the report: 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.

As well as overworked staff, the report discovered that there was a startling inconsistency with regard to safety checks of medical equipment. These faults were compounded by a lack of communication between patients and staff, leading to delayed treatment and distress to patients. Junior doctors in particular flagged this as a major issue and complained of feeling unsupported.  

The investigators, who made unannounced visits, to the hospitals under the trust also identified that the trust’s process for investigating complaints was not followed and there was a striking inability to implement infection control in wards, and it was discovered that hand hygiene was particularly omitted on numerous occasions.

Due to the overstaffing, lack of communication and failure to adhere to protocol, the most worrying suggestion raised by the findings of the investigators was that junior doctors were being asked to certify deaths for patients they had not previously treated or seen and also that Health care assistants were performing tasks that should be performed by a nurse.

Steps have already been taken pursuant to the review according to the trust, says Brendan Brown who is the director of nursing, in that this included recruiting 49 nurses and additional consultants.

If you or a loved one has experience or knowledge of failings at the above trust, you can contact 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.