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Media Release – Patients put at risk

December 13, 2016

Copy of media release issued 12th December 2016

Julie Bailey, CBE, warns ‘Mid Staffs was not a one off’.
NHS could face thousands of clinical negligence claims as mortality soars

Following research carried out by supporters of Cure the NHS it has been
uncovered that a vital national Code intended to make sure overfull
hospitals are safe was ignored in one of England’s largest NHS Trusts. The
Code would have suspended targets and made sure action was taken so health
services met local needs. That did not happen and for three years, prior to
Keogh intervening in 2013, the hospitals were some of the most overcrowded
in England. During that period analyst suggested there were 677 more deaths
than expected.

Professor Sir Brian Jarman, said that overcrowding was one of the ‘best
predictors of HSMI’ a key mortality indicator, firmly linking high levels of
occupancy with mortality. A GMC investigation could find no good reason why
the Code on overfull hospitals was not implemented at the Trust as early as
2009.

Julie Bailey CBE, who led the campaign in Mid Staffs commented on the
failure of the NHS to apply its own Codes ‘The NHS continues to have
problems with openness and transparency. Through our hard work, complaints
to regulatory bodies, FOI’s, information from whistleblowers and analysis of
NHS data we are able to expose another damning indictment of the NHS which
has placed significant numbers of patients at risk’. Julie Bailey asked the
media to publicise the results of the investigations saying ‘publicity and
the power of the media is one of the best defences we have against a poor
care’.

The investigation showed that the Code designed to prevent hospitals being
overfull so putting patients at risk was not implemented at United
Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, regardless of warnings from local senior
managers and clinicians.

Cure the NHS has taken specialist legal advice. That advice takes into
account a key Supreme Court judgement and confirmed that patients placed at
risk at ULHT as a result of ignoring the Code may be able to take legal
action if they came to harm. The advice indicated that it had left the NHS
open to litigation as the NHS has a duty of care to patients. In addition
where risks associated with overcrowding were not made clear to patients (as
part of obtaining informed consent) and those risks materialised patients
could now seek redress. The advice has implications for other overcrowded
hospitals. Thousands of claims could follow.

David Bowles, former Chair of the Trust who resigned to draw attention to
what he called ‘a cavalier disregard for patient safety shown by top NHS
managers’ warned that the NHS now faces the potential of claims from
patients not just from ULHT but elsewhere. ‘This follows scandals such as
Maidstone and Mid Staffs. Overcrowded hospitals put staff under extreme
pressure resulting in poor care, patients are likely to face greater risks
due to infection control problems and there is more likely to be a lack of
access to intensive care or coronary care. In addition overcrowding can
lead to a lack of timely access to diagnostic facilities, patients can be
discharged too early because of the desperate need for beds and end up being
readmitted or patients may be treated in the wrong type of ward for their
condition putting them a greater risk. Finally of course it may also result
in higher levels of mortality. Current signs are that with more and more
hospitals becoming overcrowded what happened at ULHT could be happening
elsewhere.’

Evidence uncovered will be submitted to the coroner in Lincolnshire as
inquests could have been misled about the failure of the NHS to comply with
its own Codes. Furthermore there is legal advice that if existing claimants
had been misled by the suppression of material facts, their claims may be
reopened.

Julie Bailey said ‘This shows that Mid Staffs was not a one-off. I call
upon Jeremy Hunt to have a full and proper investigation into the management
culture of the NHS and into what our local organisation, Cure the NHS
Lincolnshire, has uncovered.

Peter Walsh from the patient safety charity Action against Medical Accidents
(AvMA) said: “If there has been failure to comply with codes and guidance
designed to keep patients safe, either at United Lincolnshire Hospital NHS
Trust or elsewhere then patients and families need to be made aware of it
and there needs to be an independent review followed by the necessary action
to address how and why NHS management have allowed this to happen. Putting
more pressure on hospitals and their staff than they can cope with has
obvious implications for patient safety, and if this is happening patients
have a right to know.”

David Bowles concluded saying ‘In many respects this is worse than Mid
Staffordshire for two reasons. First is that it happened after Mid Staffs
showing the NHS has not learnt. Second unlike in Mid Staffs we now hold
documents which go right to the top of the NHS and we will make these
available to any genuinely independent investigation. Patients are entitled
to safe care. Encouraging litigation goes against the grain but unless
politicians hold top NHS managers to account then patients must.’

Advice to patients can be found on the post below.

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One Comment
  1. Lol Barnes permalink

    Julie should investigate Stoke on Trent hospital which is saddled with HUGE PFI debt and almost never sees A and E patients within recommended time limits. the PFI debt is a legacy from the worst hospital CEO they ever had, who had already managed to all but destroy Wolverhampton and Southampton hospitals when he was in charge of them. This man took away the best performing departments from Stafford Hospital and left Stafford people with a worse hospital than before, with no Paediatrics, Surgery or Consultant Maternity care, in spite of TSA recommendations. All this was done as speedily as possible with no real thought put into it. Since then there have been several babies born in transit, to mums who were considered ‘at risk’ of complications. Instead of their baby being born safely in hospital, they have been born at the roadside in an ambulance. There have also been babies who ‘didn’t make it’, when, if they were taken to Stafford they may have been saved, as a journey of up to 8 miles is easier than a journey of 17 miles plus! Julie, get into stoke and uncover the deficiencies there!

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