On Tuesday 16 July, Sir Bruce Keogh will publish his report following review of 14 NHS Trusts, where higher than expected mortality rates have been found.

The review was prompted in part by the Francis Inquiry into Stafford Hospital, which quite apart from highlighting appalling breaches of basic care provision, also revealed the extent to which various agencies which were supposed to be regulating hospitals and Trusts, had failed to do so. This comes in the same week as the review into the use of the Liverpool Care Pathway by Lady Neuburger, is published. The NHS has turned 65 in the last few weeks and these latest reports highlight the many challenges it faces in adapting to a population with much longer life expectancy as well as higher expectations for their care. It is to be hoped that the outcome of these and other reviews into past care, will lead to a reconfiguration of services better equipped to meet the challenges ahead.

 

Newspapers have speculated that Sir Bruce Keogh’s report will reveal that between 3,400- 13,000 people may have died needlessly within those 14 Trusts now under investigation between 2010/11 and 2011/12 alone. Leaked parts of the report published in the Telegraph over the weekend, also suggest that in 5 of those Trusts the death rates exceeded the worst ever year reported of the Mid-Staffs Trust. The worst of the Trusts in terms of mortality is Basildon, followed closely by Tameside in Greater Manchester. The figures which have been collected over many years by Sir Brian Jarman, the man who set up Dr Foster Health and is now an advisor to Sir Bruce Keogh, has stated that he warned the Dept of Health about these Trusts many times from 2005 onwards. 

 

Meanwhile, the government is expected to announce today that all Trusts are to review their use of the Liverpool Care Pathway following receipt of the report of Lady Neuberger into its use. The Pathway was meant to assist families and health staff deal with the final days of a patient’s life where medical intervention is no longer likely to prolong their life and the focus shifts to palliative care in order to ease suffering.    Financial incentives for Trusts to use the Pathway, have been heavily criticised and are now likely to be withdrawn. Every year approximately 130,000 patients are placed on the Pathway and the review was prompted following complaints from families where the Pathway was felt to be inappropriate and/or used without the knowledge of the patient or their family.

 

When a patient or their family has suffered as a result of negligent treatment, they need to have answers to help them understand what went wrong and why.  In addition they are entitled to compensation for injuries caused as a result of that negligent treatment.   Devonshires Solicitors are instructed on behalf of several patients in claims against Trusts subject to review, including both Basildon and Tameside. If you or a member of your family has been similarly affected, please contact Suzanne Gallagher on 0207 880 4407.