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3,000 more patients have died needlessly in hospital

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3,000 more patients have died needlessly in hospital

Post  Panda on Wed 6 Feb - 23:24

3,000 more patients have died needlessly in hospital

More than 3,000 people may have died unnecessarily at five NHS trusts in a
crisis that could dwarf the horrors at Mid Staffordshire, which were detailed in
a devastating report on Wednesday.

Patients that died unnecessary
deaths at Mid

By Gordon Rayner, Rowena Mason and Stephen Adams

10:00PM GMT 06 Feb 2013


An investigation began on Wednesday night into excessive mortality rates at
the five trusts – the same warning sign that exposed the needless deaths of up
to 1,200 patients at Mid Staffs.

The trusts in Lancashire, Essex and Greater Manchester have been “outliers”
on an index of expected death rates for two successive years to 2012.

Within hours of the publication of a report which described the “disaster” at
Mid Staffs as the worst scandal in the history of the NHS, the Department of
Health released figures which raise the possibility that the “appalling” lack of
care may still be going on at hospitals around the country.

Between July 2010 and June 2012, a total of 3,063 deaths were recorded at the
five trusts, which comprise eight district general hospitals, over and above
what would be expected. The worst figures were recorded at Blackpool Teaching
Hospitals, where there were 879 excessive deaths. East Lancashire Hospitals NHS
Trust, which has premises in Blackburn and Burnley, had 618; Colchester Hospital
University Trust in Essex had 599; Basildon and Thurrock, also in Essex, had 508
and Tameside, near Manchester, 459.

Sir Bruce Keogh, the medical director of the NHS Commissioning Board, will be
in charge of the investigation in the five areas, where patients and their
families have been warning for years that care was inadequate.

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The figures piled more pressure on Sir David Nicholson, the chief executive
of the NHS, who was already facing demands to resign over his failure to root
out the problems at Mid Staffs.

Professor Sir Brian Jarman, an international authority on hospital
performance, said he warned the Government in early 2010 about high death rates
at four of the hospitals now under investigation. Sir Brian, a former president
of the British Medical Association, said problems in the NHS have been ignored
for too long and called for Sir David to step down.

“I think he should go,” he said. “The Francis Report [into Mid Staffs] is
very good but the difficulty is the same people are running the NHS and the
mechanism of denial is continuing.” Earlier, Robert Francis QC published his
findings following a 31-month public inquiry into deaths at Mid Staffordshire
NHS Foundation Trust, in which he catalogued the “harrowing” experiences of
patients at Stafford Hospital.

The report says there was “a failure of the NHS system at every level” to
detect problems and take action. Despite between 400 and 1,200 people dying
needlessly, and despite five investigations including Mr Francis’s £13  million
public inquiry, not one person has been sacked or struck off.

Mr Francis said conditions of “appalling care” flourished because managers
“put corporate self-interest and cost control ahead of patients and their
safety”. He said patients were “let down” by a “lack of care, compassion,
humanity and leadership”, with patients having to relieve themselves in their
beds because no one would take them to the lavatory, others drinking water from
vases because they were not given drinks and “callous indifference” to their
suffering by ward staff. Staff who tried to raise concerns were ignored, bullied
or intimidated, and watchdog bodies failed to react to repeated warnings.

Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, said it felt “wrong” that no one had been
brought to book, while David Cameron said doctors should have been struck off.

Julie Bailey, who set up the pressure group Cure the NHS after her mother
died at Stafford and was instrumental in exposing the failures, said: “We want
resignations. We have lost hundreds of lives within the NHS, we want

She said Sir David, who was in charge of a body that had oversight of Mid
Staffs for part of the time when the deaths were occurring, was “a bully” who
should not be in charge of the NHS. She also called for the resignation of Peter
Carter, the general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, which had told a
whistle-blower at the hospital to “keep her head down” rather than fight for
change. She added: “We want everybody who knew about this disaster to be held to
account, otherwise nothing will change in the NHS.”

James Duff, whose wife Doreen died after receiving sub-standard care at
Stafford Hospital, said: “Not one person has lost their job over this – instead
they have been promoted and some people have been moved sideways. This has been
a disaster yet nobody is accountable.”

The public sector union Unite said Sir David’s position was “untenable” as he
was “not the person to lead the NHS into the world of patient-focused care as
outlined by Robert Francis”. Sir David said he had considered resigning, but
added that the NHS under his management had “saved literally tens of thousands
of lives”.

Sir David was chief executive of Shropshire and Staffordshire Strategic
Health Authority, with oversight of Mid Staffs, for a nine-month period in
2005-06 when the first instances of mistreatment and neglect are believed to
have taken place.

Among the Francis Report’s 290 recommendations were the need for NHS
hospitals to put “patients first, not numbers” and a “zero tolerance” approach
to poor standards of care.

Health workers should have a “statutory duty of candour” and the obstruction
of this duty should be a criminal offence, while gagging clauses preventing
staff from raising concerns should be banned.

The Prime Minister responded by saying a new post of Chief Inspector of
Hospitals will be created in the autumn.

Mr Cameron said what happened at Mid Staffs was “not just wrong, it was truly
dreadful” and told the families of the dead he was “truly sorry” for the way the
system allowed “horrific abuse to go unchecked and unchallenged” for so long.

He added that the report’s evidence of systemic failure means “we cannot say
with confidence that failings of care are limited to one hospital”.

Ed Miliband, whose party was in power as the Mid Staffs scandal unfolded,
also apologised, but said the scandal was “not typical” of what happened in NHS
hospitals up and down the country.
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