Medical Law Experts Welcome Thorough Investigation Into Standards At Troubled Childrens Hospital

Specialist Lawyer Says Investigations Must Be Thorough

15.10.2012

Medical law experts at Irwin Mitchell welcome the Care Quality Commission’s decision to investigate standards at Bristol Children’s Hospital after the parents of three children who died there this year claim staff neglected them.
 
Three families have launched legal action against University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust and experts at Irwin Mitchell say the investigations must provide answers to the families about what happened and reassurances that the same mistakes cannot happen again.

Seven-year-old Luke Jenkins, from Cardiff, and Sean Turner, four, from Warminster, Wiltshire, both died after having the same heart operation last spring. Both parents believe their loss was a result of inadequate medical and nursing care.

Tiffany White, 19, and James Willcox, 20, from Gloucester, also allege neglect caused the death of their son Oscar at just nine-weeks-old, in April.

All the children were cared for on Ward 32 at Bristol Children’s Hospital and the hospital recently admitted failings in its care in two of the cases and admitted to six other patient safety incidents over the past 12 months, stating low staff numbers as a “contributory factor”.

Julie Lewis, a Partner and medical law expert at Irwin Mitchell’s Bristol office, said: “We are deeply concerned to hear of the tragic deaths of three children at Bristol Children’s Hospital.

“Investigations now need to be full and thorough and findings must be acted upon immediately to improve standards and prevent the same mistakes from happening again. We have repeatedly called for patient safety to be the top priority across the NHS but sadly we continue to be contacted by heartbroken families who feel they have been let down.

“Patients and their families need reassurance that they are safe and in the best hands whilst being treated in Bristol.

“Issues that require urgent attention include improving general staffing levels throughout the week, weekends and bank holidays, as well as increasing the availability of more senior staff to enhance supervision and improve the quality of urgent clinical decision making.”