89 Patients At Leicester Hospitals Received Substandard Care

NHS Trust Published Report Revealing Failings


A report has revealed that 89 patients in Leicestershire received a ‘substandard’ level of care in the days leading to their death.

381 patients were involved in the review and it also showed a further 119 people could have received a better quality of care.

Relatives of the patients involved have now received letters from the Trust apologising for the poor quality of care which was provided to their family members.

Dr Kevin Harris, medical director at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and Professor Mayur Lakhani, chairman of West Leicestershire clinical commissioning group, said: “We have let some people down.

“We want to apologise to the families of all 89 patients whom the review found to have received substandard care and assure them we are going to work tirelessly with our colleagues to make substantial and lasting improvements to the health system.”

NHS organisation in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland commissioned the review after slightly higher than normal death rates at Leicester’s hospitals so they could decide which areas needed to be improved.

Dr Harris said the death rate could have been affected by an increased number of people who were being admitted which were close to the end of their lives because there was not a lot of support available elsewhere.

He said: “This is about improving care, not about saving lives. The outcome would not have been different for any of these patients.

Public health experts at the University of Leicester, Dr Ron Hsu and Lucy Douglas-Pannett conducted the review.

They focused on 381 patients who were admitted to Leicester Royal Infirmary as emergency cases and then died in hospital within 30 days of being discharged between March 2012 and June 2013.

Lucy Douglas-Pannett and Dr Ron Hsu, said: “While the reviewers found cases of excellent care, there was a worrying wide variation in care which included care considered to be ‘unacceptable’.

“There was evidence of fractured care, dysfunctional processes and lack of joined-up thinking throughout the NHS in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.”

Some of the issues raised in the report relating to medical assessments by hospital doctors, GP’s and palliative care, where patients have investigative procedures and tests and the prognosis was not appropriate and also delay in prescribing antibiotics.

Other issues revealed in the review pointed to confusion over do not resuscitate orders, where the patients were resuscitated when they should not have been.

Dr Harris said: “We set out to find problems and we found them, so we are now better positioned to address those system-wide issues.”

Out of the 89 patients who were said to have received ‘unacceptable’ care, 79 were treated at city hospital, 15 in community or social care and 25 in primary care.

A task force has now been set up led by Professor Lakhani and Dr Harris to make changes and improve the level of care provided out of hospitals.

Expert Opinion
We welcome that the Trust has investigated the high death rate at Leicester hospitals and we commend them to take urgent steps to improve the level of care across Leicestershire for all patients.

“Through our work we see the devastating impact on families when their loved ones have received unacceptable care and they deserve answers and assurances that this will not happen again.

“Patient safety must remain the top priority across all levels of the NHS and this starts with ensuring good basic standards of care and communication between the healthcare providers.”
Julianne Moore, Partner