Recent evidence has emerged to suggest that standards at some NHS Trusts are less than satisfactory.
The CQC’s inspectors visited 79 hospital trusts during the latest round of visits across England. Some findings were already known, but the recent report brought everything together to paint a broader picture of the NHS’s performance; it was not an altogether pretty one. Safety was a particular worry, with 74% of hospitals found to have safety issues on some level, with 13% actually deemed unsafe. Some 6% of GP services and 10% of social care provision were also rated as unsafe.
Shortcomings found in some NHS Trusts included insufficient staff numbers and skill levels, poor control of medicines and incorrect administration, delayed assessment of A&E patients and inadequate investigation of incidents and mistakes to help ensure that similar safety risks could be identified.
The point about probing medical errors and other incidents was also made by the Ombudsman, who remarked upon the added impact on patients and families when there had been a failure to give a proper explanation of what went wrong and why. Ombudsman Julie Mellor’s report includes brief case summaries for a selection of 116 unnamed NHS patients across the country.
In her report, the Ombudsman says: “Many people complain about public services out of a sense of public duty, because they don’t want what happened to them or their loved one to happen to someone else. But too many people aren’t getting the answers to what went wrong from the organisation they complained about. Complaints alert people to where problems are and should be welcomed by all levels of the organisation, so that much-needed improvements are made.”
“As a medical negligence lawyer,” says Madeline Seibert of our firm, “I agree with the Ombudsman’s thoughts on the wider benefits of pursuing a complaint and would extend that principle to the question of taking legal action for redress in cases where a patient has been harmed through negligence, incompetence or an inherently unsafe hospital or care home. Such patients owe it to themselves and to others not to suffer the resulting pain or financial loss in silence.”