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Medical Law Experts Call For Immediate Action To Improve NHS Standards

Mid-Staffordshire Hospital Public Inquiry Report Due Within Days


Medical law experts at Irwin Mitchell say immediate action must be taken to improve services within NHS trusts after the Health Secretary said that while the scandal at the Mid Staffordshire NHS trust represented the worst of the problem, “everyone can sense that there are little bits of Stafford dotted around the system”.

Speaking to the Telegraph newspaper just days before he is due to see the full report from the two year Public Inquiry, Jeremy Hunt said he believes the results will provoke ‘a huge debate’ about poor standards of care and the absence of “compassion” on hospital wards.

The Inquiry, led by Robert Francis QC, was launched in 2009 after regulators found that between 600 and 1200, patients died unnecessarily at Stafford Hospital between 2005 and 2008 after suffering appalling standards of care.

Initial investigations found managers were focusing on meeting government targets instead of the quality of care provided to patients.

Lawyers at Irwin Mitchell representing patients and their families who have received sub-standard care at Stafford Hospital have echoed Mr Hunt’s dismay at the number of so-called “never events”, such as the wrong limb being amputated, or the wrong implant being fitted, that take place in the NHS.

Mandy Luckman, a Partner at the firm’s Birmingham office, said: “To hear that official figures show that 326 ‘never events’ occurred across the NHS during the last year which equals almost one a day, is appalling and simply not acceptable.

“These are problems which the NHS says are simply ‘unacceptable and eminently preventable’, so to hear that so many are happening across the country is deeply concerning.

“Never events should be just that, events which just do not happen, and it is imperative that trusts across the entire country invest in training to ensure every step is taken to protect the safety of patients and prevent injury where at all possible.”

She added: “Whilst we agree with Mr Hunt that the results of the Inquiry will spark a huge debate about standards, immediate action is needed in Stafford and other NHS Trusts to ensure there are no further needless deaths as a result of sub-standard care.

“The two year inquiry must result in greater regulation, better training for nurses and patient safety to return as the top priority for all members of staff.

“This is needed to begin the long path of restoring public confidence in the NHS, not just in Staffordshire, but across the country, as so many people, including us at Irwin Mitchell, have been shocked and appalled at what went on.”