Spotlight on: East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust

18 July 2013

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Spotlight on: East Lancashire Hospitals NHS 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: East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust

Suspicion initially fell upon this trust due to the number of mortality rates at Burnley and Blackburn Hospitals which comes under their governance. The trust was additionally criticised for poor governance, inadequate staffing levels at weekends and for staff "talking down" to patients and their families when they voiced concerns.

Within the hospital’s maternity unit, there were initial flags raised over the number of stillbirths which occurred, which was a  total of eight in number in March-astonishingly these incidents were not escalated after initial concerns, with failure to progress such concerns to trust level at the very least. Additionally, it was the fact that mortality rates-not just amongst infants-were so high that came to the attention of the investigators who concluded that there was a higher incidence of mortality at the weekends.

The trust has said it had plans in place to address problems, including immediate measures to improve staffing levels which was an issue of concern throughout the report with highlighted imbalance in capacity and demand across Royal Blackburn Hospital (RBH) and Burnley General Hospital sites, in particular.

Nursing and medical staff indicated that there are capacity issues within RBH, and that the hospital is struggling to deal with the number of patients attending the emergency department and the pressure this creates throughout the hospital. This impacts upon the flow of patients within the hospital and is compounded by issues relating to the delay in discharging medically fit patients, including the availability of medication on discharge and community care packages.

 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.