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Inquest Highlights Out-Of-Hours Service Concerns

Expert Calls For Patient Safety To Come First


The NHS needs to ensure that its out-of-hours service workers are fully trained to deal with all manner of issues following problems highlighted in a recent inquest, a medical law expert has urged.

A coroner in Southampton has been critical of a nurse on the service who gave a mother incorrect advice in relation to her son, who died days after the call.

Gary Richards suggested that Linda Cutler should wait 13 hours before taking her son Sam to a GP surgery, despite the mother describing symptoms which should have meant the boy was seen within two to six hours.

A verdict of natural causes was recorded in the inquest, but a review by Solent NHS Trust led to a formal warning for Mr Richards and a call for retraining.

Irwin Mitchell’s Medical Law and Patients’ Rights team regularly provide advice and support to those who have suffered due to failings in care and treatment.

Commenting on the case, Auriana Griffiths, a Partner and clinical negligence specialist at the firm’s London office, said: “It is very concerning to hear about the advice given in this case but it is good to see that efforts have been made to learn lessons from it through a review.

“Anyone who approaches the NHS for advice puts their trust in the advice they are given and it is disappointing the advice here fell short of the standard the family was entitled to expect.

“The safety of patients should always be of paramount concern for all staff in the NHS and all Trusts should ensure their staff are fully capable of offering the correct advice and treatment.

“Hopefully with adequate training cases like this will become a thing of the past.”