Keogh Review ‘Must Lead To Urgent Action’ to Improve NHS Care Standards

Expert Medical Lawyers Say Victims and Their Families Want To See Improvements To Ensure Patient Safety

15.07.2013

By Dave Grimshaw

Medical law experts at Irwin Mitchell, who represent the families of patients who have suffered alleged negligent treatment at all 14 trusts included within the Keogh Review, say the NHS must act on the report and improve patient safety as a matter of urgency.

Irwin Mitchell submitted evidence to the review panel of cases of negligent treatment at the hospitals as Sir Bruce Keogh and his panel sought to investigate standards and seek views on 14 sites which were found to have unacceptably high death rates over the past two years.

Lisa Jordan, head of the Medical Law and Patients’ Rights team at Irwin Mitchell which has represented over 500 patients treated at the NHS Trusts affected, said: “We wholeheartedly support the aims of the Keogh review and in fact submitted several cases of patients who were treated at the hospitals in question. These cases highlighted failures made by the trusts involved and left many families devastated.

“The most important issue moving forward is that any problems identified by the review are not just dealt with in isolation by that particular hospital and NHS trust, but that any lessons that can be learnt are spread throughout the whole NHS and healthcare system.

“All too often we hear of tragic deaths and serious injuries as a result of negligent treatment and this is a situation that is wholly avoidable. While the vast majority of NHS staff work extremely hard and to a very high standard, too many basic and simple errors are being made by people not following approved guidelines or not paying enough care and attention.”

Lawyers at Irwin Mitchell are also concerned about the rise in the number of cases where numerous patients who were treated by the same surgeon or doctor have come forward. The law firm has repeatedly called for more transparency from all healthcare authorities in reporting and sharing information with the public.

Over the past two years more than 100 patients of Mr Manjit Bhamra in Rotherham have taken legal action along with many people affected by the treatment of Dr Rob Jones in Cornwall, Birmingham surgeon Ian Paterson and Sudip Sarker in Worcester.

Lisa added: “We firmly believe that there needs to be more transparency amongst the key healthcare organisations to include the General Medical Council, the Nursing and Midwifery Council and the Care Quality Commission. Information gathered about surgeons needs to be shared with the public.

“While there are some moves in the right direction in terms of publishing statistics and data, it is important that the momentum and pressure in terms of improving standards within the NHS are maintained so that patient safety can be assured in future and patients have confidence in making difficult health choices which could affect their lives forever.”

The NHS Trusts under review were:
• Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
• Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
• Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust
• Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
• Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust
• The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust
• East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust
• George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust
• Medway NHS Foundation Trust
• North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust
• Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
• Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
• Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
• United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in Medical Negligence claims.