Naomi Eady, solicitor in the TSP Clinical Medical Negligence team, discusses the results of the Government commissioned review of 14 hospitals across the country which was published yesterday.

The investigation was initiated after death rates in all those hospitals rose to worryingly high levels, and Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust (“Colchester General Hospital”) was one of them. The investigation was led by NHS Medical Director, Sir Bruce Keogh, and found that none of the hospitals investigated was providing “consistently high quality care to patients” and that 11 of the 14 hospitals were guilty of ‘major failings’. As a result of these “major failings” all bar three of the trusts under investigation have been placed on ‘special measures’; which involves them being required to implement the recommendations of the Keogh review with the help of external teams, their progress being tracked and made available to the public

Colchester General is not one of the hospitals put on the special measures list. The review identified a number of good areas of practice across the Trust, with some great examples of excellent care being delivered to patients. But whilst Colchester General avoided being put on the special measures list, it was criticised by the review which identified nine areas that required urgent and high priority action. Some of the failures identified by the review were:

– a lack of clear focus on quality and clinical accountability;

– a lack of implementation of improvement plans as a result of external reviews;

– a lack of clarity of the governance arrangements over quality;

– a gap between ward level and Board level in terms of quality control and listening to staff concerns;

– insufficient nursing levels on some wards.

The Keogh review also revealed that the Hospital had reported 158 patient safety incidents between April 2011 and March 2012 and since 2009, two “never” events have occurred at the Trust (incidents that are so serious they should never happen). The Trust’s Mortality Indicator level for the period December 2011 to November 2012 was 118, meaning that the number of actual deaths is higher than the expected level. The investigation also commented that The Ombudsman rates the Trust as C-rated which indicates a high risk of non-compliance with their recommendations.

The Chief Executive of Colchester General Hospital, Dr Gordon Coutts has issued an apology saying ‘we don’t always get it right. There are times when patients have felt let down…to them, I apologise.’

Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary said: “We have taken swift and tough action to make sure these hospitals are given all necessary support to improve. We owe it to the three million people who use the NHS every week to tackle and confront mediocrity and inadequate leadership head on.”

Hospitals on special measures:

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust, Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, Medway NHS Foundation Trust.

Hospitals not on special measures:

Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The Clinical Negligence team at TSP

The Clinical Medical Negligence team at TSP has significant experience of dealing with clinical medical negligence claims for clients which relate to Colchester hospital – 2 examples follow:

Birth Injury: please click here to see how the team were able to help Kyle Burch who was injured at birth at Colchester General Hospital recieve £1.75 million in compensation.

Death following surgery: please click here to see how the team are helping the widow of David Pattrick who died in Colchester General Hospital following surgery.

The TSP team members understand the life-changing problems that clinical medical negligence can cause for the individuals concerned and their families. They will discuss and evaluate your claim and funding options with you sensitively and in total confidence. This initial evaluation will be totally free.

If you think that you may have been the victim of medical clinical negligence contact our team today on 01206 574431 or fill in and submit the form below and we will be in contact with you shortly.