More NHS horror stories: Investigation into NHS deaths after hospital scandals

Story from the UK Times. (H/T Legal Insurrection via ECM)


An immediate investigation to uncover the true extent of death rates across the NHS has been ordered by the Health Secretary after scandals at two hospital trusts.

Amid claims that patients are dying due to poor care in at least 27 hospitals around the country, Andy Burnham said that patient safety was paramount and must take precedence above all else.

His comments come after the head of a foundation trust in Colchester, Essex, was sacked over concerns about high death rates, leadership and waiting times.

Failings in patient care had previously been linked to the deaths of between 70 and 400 patients at Basildon and Thurrock NHS Foundation Trust, also in Essex.

Here’s a more recent UK Times article.

The report includes incidents of 209 foreign objects such as drill bits left inside patients after surgery; 82 incidents where the wrong part of the body was operated on; and 848 patients under the age of 65 admitted with low-risk conditions who subsequently died.

[…]The NHS boss in charge of Basildon and Thurrock had received an 11% pay rise in the past year. Alan Whittle, chief executive of the trust, who was paid £150,000 during 2008-9, also saw the value of his pension pot increase by nearly £500,000 to £1.5m over the same period.

Details of Whittle’s pay emerged after a CQC report found that poor nursing, dirty wards and a lack of leadership had contributed to an estimated 400 avoidable deaths at the Basildon hospital last year.

A CQC spot check last month had uncovered soiled mattresses, poor clinical practices, mould growing in suction machines and out-of-date medical equipment.

Katherine Murphy, director of the Patients Association, a pressure group, criticised a culture of “rewards for failure” within the National Health Service. “Surgeons and doctors who fail patients can be struck off and the same should be true of NHS executives,” she said.

Michael Large, the trust’s chairman, said Whittle’s 11% pay rise reflected the hospital’s higher turnover and greater responsibilities for executives.

Yesterday it emerged that Whittle is having a relationship with Karen Bates, a hospital safety manager who also serves on the hospital’s board of governors.

The problem with socialized medicine, such as Britain’s National Health Service, is that patient’s money is paid in taxes to the government before they need treatment, and regardless of whether they need treatment. So when you finally do need treatment, the people providing it have no financial incentive to give you quality care, since they have no competitors that you could choose. The right way to buy health care is the same way you buy from – you compare products, prices and reviews and choose what you want.

More NHS horror stories

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