The Royal Blackburn Hospital and Burnley General have once again come under fire in a recent report into the standard of care at NHS hospitals in England. The East Lancashire NHS Trust is one of 14 Trusts in England which has been subject to review by Prof Sir Bruce Keogh. His resulting report, which has been published today, has highlighted fundamental failings by the Trusts in relation to their provision of care and staffing levels.

The investigation was launched earlier this year in response to the Francis inquiry, which uncovered the appalling standards of care and unnecessary deaths at Stafford Hospital. Figures suggest that there had been between 400 and 1,200 more deaths than would have been expected.  This damning verdict caused widespread public outrage and deemed necessary a change in the lack of accountability of the NHS.

Locally figures also show that there are higher than expected death rates, particularly at Royal Blackburn Hospital, prompting East Lancashire NHS Trust to be one of the 14 trusts across the country be looked investigated further. As part of the Keogh Review a two day inspection took place at the East Lancashire Trust’s two main sites: Royal Blackburn Hospital and Burnley General Hospital.

The chief executive of East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, Mark Brearley, was said to have welcomed the inspection and its findings. Public forums or “listening events’ also took place in Burnley and Blackburn throughout June.

Now published, the Keogh Review has identified many areas of concern and has noted that although some of the Trusts were providing good care in some instances, none were providing consistently high quality care to patients.  An alarming statistic identified by one of the investigating team is that over a period of 7 years there have been 13,300 more deaths than would have been expected within the Trusts.

The review has flagged up massive management failings within all 14 Trusts and points to concerns over nursing staffing levels.  A direct link has been established between inadequate staffing levels and poor standards of care. It is also reported that within the Trusts, staff morale is low and identifies that academic research suggests that the nature of staff has a direct impact on mortality rates.

Currently all 14 Trusts are being looked into by regulators, but none have had any restrictions or sanctions put in place, such as the closure of units or administration of the entire organisation. However, 11 of the 14 Trusts have been put in special measures, including The East Lancashire NHS Trust. This means that they have been told that they need to make improvements and they will be subject to further review in the next 12 months.

The findings of the Keogh report are of grave concern, particularly in relation to Royal Blackburn and Burnley General Hospitals. If you feel that you have received a substandard level of treatment whilst in hospital, or indeed have concerns about the medical treatment received by a family member, our medical negligence solicitors can help. We are able to offer you a no obligation free review of your case and if we proceed with making a clinical negligence claim on your behalf, this will be on a no win no fee basis, meaning there are no upfront costs to pay.

To discuss your case with us today, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of our experienced team.