Kettering Hospital Errors 'Putting Patients At Risk'

Report Uncovers Range Of Failings In Care

24.03.2014

A hospital in Northamptonshire has come under fire for a range of major mistakes in patient care, which were discovered in an inquiry that followed the death of a teenager there.

Victoria Harrison, who was 17, died at Kettering General Hospital the day after an appendix operation in 2012, but details of 43 errors in patient care were covered up by bosses at the hospital, the BBC reports.

The broadcaster said it had learned that problems included the ending of routine observations and unprofessional conduct by nurses, with ten members of staff - whose names were redacted - being disciplined.

Kettering General had originally withheld the report on the grounds that its publication would be "putting staff under more stress", but the BBC challenged the decision and made a Freedom of Information request, which was granted after an internal panel investigation agreed that publishing the report would be in the public interest.

The mistakes listed in the report included the incorrect surgeon being named on hospital documents, a lack of a formal pain assessment, inaccuracies in the reporting of medical administration, a lack of any check on Miss Harrison's abdomen, no monitoring of vital signs after painkillers were given and no mention of discussions with her family.

Following the initial decision not to publish the report, Miss Harrison's mother Tracy Foskett began a campaign via Facebook to garner support for hospitals to be forced to publish reports in such circumstances. Her online initiative gained widespread public support.

She said: "I know the hospital has put changes in place, but the public needs to be aware of what those are. 
"These changes have come about because of the death of my daughter, a vibrant young girl. They should have already been in place."

Chief executive of the Patients Association Katherine Murphy expressed similar views to Ms Foskett, stating: "It is vitally important that trusts disclose information about things that have gone wrong so that we can learn from mistakes."

Expert Opinion
All patients treated by the NHS are entitled to a high standard of consistency and quality care, but a report of this nature demonstrates that this is not always the case. Sadly, we have seen numerous examples in the past when people have suffered injury or families have lost loved ones as a result of hospitals failing to meet their responsibilities.

"As with any case of this kind, it is vital that serious effort is made to learn lessons from these failings and ultimately ensure that standards improve urgently.

"The safety of patients must always come first and the NHS needs to ensure that the problems seen at this hospital are simply never repeated either here or elsewhere in the future."
Lisa Jordan, Partner