The East Lancashire Hospital Trust is one of eleven hospital trusts in England to be placed under 'special measures' after a report into its performance found serious failings. Royal Blackburn Hospital and Burnley General Hospital, two of the hospitals that fall within the East Lancashire NHS Trust, were both investigated as part of the Keogh Report; a major review into hospitals in England.
Common issues identified by Prof Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS England's medical director, included low levels of clinical cover, particularly over weekends, patients being left unmonitored on trolleys for long periods, and poor standards in operating theatres, including a lack of proper maintenance. Specific failings in East Lancashire hospitals included one elderly lady being discharged at 3am; being told she had "no choice”.
In addition, inspectors found particularly high mortality at the weekends.
The special measures to be faced by East Lancashire and ten other NHS Trusts in England will involve external experts being sent in to work with the senior management team, with regular progress updates being required. Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, although investigated in Professor Keogh's report, escaped being placed under the new measures.
The investigation into hospitals in England was triggered by the Stafford Hospital scandal, in which it was found that substandard levels of care had led to patient deaths. The mortality rate at Royal Blackburn Hospital has also been identified as being above average in 2010-11 and 2011-12, hence the investigation into their practice.
The other 10 hospital trusts being placed under special measures are 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, George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust, Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust and Medway NHS Foundation Trust.
If you, or a family member, have been subjected to poor standards whilst in hospital and have suffered as a result of this, you may have a claim for medical negligence. Our experienced team are able to advise you about making a claim, and are happy to provide a free claim assessment. For a no obligation discussion with our specialist clinical negligence solicitors, please don't hesitate to contact us.
By Des Draper, Medical Negligence Lawyer