Spotlight on: Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

17 July 2013

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Spotlight on: Tameside Hospital 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. Mistreatment.com looks at the underlying faults at one of the trusts highlighted as the worst in the report: Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

The finding of an alarming mortality rate at Tameside Hospital in Greater Manchester was highlighted by the report and comes on the back of recently flagged issues regarding bed shortages and allegations of poor care from patients. Additionally, Jeremy Hunt highlighted the issue of patients being left on unmanned trolleys for excessive periods of time.

The investigation found "insufficient levels of nursing staff", "poor supervision of junior doctors by consultants" and a "lack of compassion" from staff dealing with patient complaints.

Interim chief executive Karen James apologised to patients unhappy with the care they had received at the hospital.

Speaking to the Sky News outlet, she said "I feel disappointed that they have been unable to provide positive feedback. However, what I want to do is involve patients in the next stage of our improvement programmes, so we need to take on board what they are saying about our services.

"What they feel and what they experience is absolutely key to us in actually addressing the fundamentals," she added.

Mr Hunt said where failures have been found in hospitals like Tameside "they have been confronted straight away".

In more specific terms Keogh opined in his report that the panel identified concerns with infection control practice in areas of the hospital and escalated this to management. Senior nurses were also left in charge of some wards overnight instead of doctors and this resulted in patients shifting from ward to ward up to four times during their stay. Keogh’s investigative teams also identified insufficient senior clinical cover, particularly out of hours and this was reinforced by lack of timely investigations, and poor management of deteriorating patients.

Management at the troubled trust has seen a change at the top with Chief executive Christine Green making the announcement that she was leaving earlier this month after an independent report criticised the trust over poor patient care. Interim chief executive, Karen James, said it would implement the review’s recommendations “in full, openly and publicly, without exception”.

An example of the magnitude of inadequacy that has beset the trust was typified by the case of Brian Wade, 69, who died in extreme pain at Tameside hospital, in January 2009. Mr Wade had been lying on a ward for five days while his stomach condition went untreated. In this time he was in excruciating pain and was killed by blood poisoning caused by colitis, a severe but treatable inflammation of the colon.

In an indication of the kind of lack of accountability that typified the findings of the Francis Report and Keogh’s own review, the trust paid his family £40,000 in an out-of-court settlement, but did not admit any wrongdoing.

Medical negligence solicitors at Mistreatment.com handle cases relating to poor care against throughout England and Wales, and some of the existing clients Mistreatment.com deals with include some hospitals within those trusts under investigation. If you have experienced any form of medical mistreatment at any of the above mentioned trusts, or want to better understand exactly what your patient rights are, Mistreatment.com are pleased to offer advice and support to you. 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.