“The NHS needs to take safety more seriously. It is frustrating that in 2016 we do not have a clearer idea of how many die or are harmed in hospital”.
So said Sir Ian Kennedy, the Government Health Watchdog. He is concerned that the official estimates of death as a result of patient safety incidents range from 840 to 34,000. In reality the NHS has no idea of the number of avoidable deaths in hospitals caused by lack of care.
We need to be concerned for ourselves, our relatives and friends. We put our trust in the doctors and nursing staff but how often do we really know if the care we receive is correct? We know if the ward is clean, the food is hot and the staff helpful but we do not always know that the correct treatment is being given appropriately. This is why the Government Health Watchdog checks the standards of care. If this Watchdog is concerned, so must we be.
A Government inquiry has found that one in ten NHS hospitals does not meet the basic standards. Safety issues include infection control, drug administration, clinical negligence and accidents.
Failings can involve not keeping records properly and misreading test results. I have dealt with many claims on behalf of clients where the vital test has been carried out but the test results have never been read by the consultant. The test results have simply been filed or, sometimes misfiled. This can be disastrous for the patient.
Urgent treatment is not arranged because no one considered the test result or there was an unacceptable delay in the result being obtained. In other cases, consultant referrals for urgent treatment or surgery have been “forgotten about” leading to substantial delays for patients in terms of their care.
In one case, hospital codings were misinterpreted. A reference to “refer for HRI” was wrongly interpreted as “refer to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary”. Only much later was it correctly interpreted as refer for high dose radiology! That patient died as a result of the delays in her treatment.
To ensure our own best care it is our own interest to enquire of our medical carers what the results of the tests were and how those results impact on our treatment plans. Patients need to know the doctor’s diagnosis and plan of action so that they can be involved in the management of recovery.
If you think you, or your child, may have suffered an injury as a result of negligent medical treatment and would like to speak with a member of the Lester Morrill clinical negligence team, please call on 0113 245 8549 or contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org .