Lawyers Call For Urgent Action To Improve Standards Of Care At Children’s Hospital In Bristol

Heartbroken Families Accuse Trust Of Catalogue Of Neglect


Medical law experts at Irwin Mitchell are calling for urgent action to improve standards of care within University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust after it was accused of a catalogue of neglect and mistreatment of babies and children with heart problems, over a four-year period from 2008.

It follows reports that up to 10 families are believed to be taking legal action against Bristol Royal Hospital for Children over its treatment of newborn babies and young children who died or suffered complications during treatment.

The news came in the week that the findings of a £13m Public Inquiry into standards at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust were made public which suggested 290 recommendations to prevent the same scandal from happening again.

In October last year it was reported the Care Quality Commission (CQC) would investigate standards at the hospital after three families publicly spoke out about the care their children received on Ward 32 believing their deaths was caused by neglect. It issued a warning notice, which said that there were simply not enough staff to "keep people safe".

The hospital admitted failings in its care in two of these 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 further tragic and unnecessary deaths of children at Bristol Children’s Hospital. It is simply not acceptable.

“Findings of previous investigations 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 and previous lessons have not been learnt.

“Patients and their families need reassurance that they are safe and in the best hands whilst being treated in Bristol and that lessons have been learnt from any mistakes made.

“As detailed in the Mid-Staffordshire report, a Duty of Candour is vital throughout the NHS so that problems can be identified and addressed as quickly as possible. We need to see that this is being put into practice within University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust to ensure errors cannot be repeated.”