Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust Urged To Learn Patient Safety Lessons

CQC Issues Formal Warning Following Unannounced Inspection


By Rob Dixon

The decision of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to issue a formal warning to Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust regarding surgery at Derriford Hospital has been welcomed by medical law experts, who have urged that patient safety is the top priority at the site.

The warning has come after a two-week unannounced inspection at the hospital in April revealed the hospital failed to meet five of the nine national standards which were reviewed. The latest inspection was being held to follow up on concerns regarding never events which were reported last year.

Inspectors found a number of issues for concern, including that the scheduling of operations was placing staff under pressure and timetables were regarded by clinical staff as unrealistic. It was also revealed that while the trust had identified the same issues, none of the necessary changes had been made.

Julie Lewis, a Partner and expert in medical law and patients’ rights in Irwin Mitchell’s Bristol office, said it was vital that the CQC’s latest inspection and formal warning lead to significant action to tackle the concerns.

She outlined: “Patients, as well as their loved ones, expect to have access to a quality, safe standard of care, regardless of the hospitals where they receive treatment.

“The urgent improvements demanded by the CQC must be acted upon as soon as possible to ensure that all treatment, including surgical procedures, is carried out in a manner which ensures patients get access to vital care which meets the necessary safety standards.

“We have seen too many cases where patients and their families have suffered as a result of patient safety failings and it is simply unacceptable. The NHS has a responsibility on this issue and we hope that this warning will prove to be an important step towards improving standards at this hospital.”

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