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Latest personal injury news and updates.

Plans to improve maternity care

A report published by NHS England has called on staff in maternity units to learn from mistakes that have been identified by auditors, with a view to improving care provided in the units.  It was found that over 124 thousand reports of incidents in maternity units were submitted in 2015.  The figures reveal an average of around 340 mistakes were being made daily in maternity units.  These include incorrect epidurals being administered, foetal heartbeats not being monitored correctly or caesareans being carried out too late in cases of emergency deliveries.  It was found that 351 women experienced serious harm last year, and 151 women and newly born babies died on maternity wards.

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Dental nurse carries out botch operation

The General Dental Council (GDC) have carried out a misconduct hearing against former dental nurse, 41-year-old Adele Royston, after it was discovered that she had carried out facial surgery on her friend despite being unqualified to do so.  The decision was made to have Royston struck off after she took time off her work at Russell Court Dental Centre in Bingley, West Yorkshire in February to carry out the procedure.  The surgery involved administering a local anaesthetic to her friend’s face.  She then proceeded to cut her face in two places to tighten her skin.  Ms Royston showed “some remorse” when appearing before the misconduct panel.

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Death of newborn caused by failings

Worcestershire Hospitals Trust has recorded the death of a newborn baby as a serious incident following paramedics taking the child to Accident and Emergency at Worcestershire Royal instead of the maternity unit.  The crew had been told to take the baby to the maternity unit where a full paediatric resuscitation team would be available, however it was decided that the infant should be taken to A&E.  This decision was made as taking the baby to maternity would have meant wheeling the child through the main hospital whilst performing heart massage. 

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Damning report on how medical complaints are handled

Healthwatch Cumbria and Cumbria Health Security committees have published a damning report into how medical complaints are handled in their area.  It has been found that Cumbrian patients were afraid to make complaints and that their complaints were handled “defensively” by health staff.  It was also found that complaint procedures were complex and that there was a general lack of understanding amongst staff of the procedures.  Complaint handling was also found to be lagging behind recommended targets.

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Investigation into increased mental health deaths

Mental Health campaigners have welcomed the commissioning of an investigation into the increase in the number of unexpected deaths of patients suffering from mental health problems in The Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.  In the year 2012-13 there were 61 deaths and in 2014-15 the number had risen to 129.  This is higher than other UK mental health trusts.

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London’s Ambulance Service under ‘special measures’

Further to an inspection carried out in June by the Care Quality Commission (CQA), London’s Ambulance Service NHS Trust has become the first to be put into special measures in an attempt to attract aid to improve its failing service.  The inspectors found the Service to be failing in the following areas:

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Care home service ‘inadequate’

Care inspectors have rated a Lancashire care home ‘inadequate’ after an unannounced visit in August. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out an inspection of Euxton Park Care Home in Chorley after they had been made aware of a number of failings – the home has since been placed under special measures.

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Flu vaccine compensation cases blocked

When doctors realised that the sharp rise in narcolepsy cases was related to the swine flu vaccine Pandemrix, they immediately withdrew it. Now, however, the government is being bombarded by several compensation claims, which government lawyers are attempting to block. The Pandemrix vaccine was produced by pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and was administered to over 6 million people in Britain and millions across Europe during 2009-10’s swine flu pandemic.

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Unsafe level of senior doctors

Recent inspections have discovered the dangerously low levels of senior doctors within the North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust. The health trust, criticised over its high death rates, was one of the 11 trusts placed under ‘special measures’ in 2013. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said that while improvements have been recognisable, staffing issues remain unaddressed by the trust. 

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Staff fighting to keep mental health patients safe

A whistle-blower has warned the NHS that hospital staff are struggling to keep patients safe within a failing mental health trust. The whistle-blower, known as Claire to maintain anonymity, says that very few improvements have been made within the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust, despite the input of regulators since February.

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Multimillion-pound payout to brain damaged siblings

Following serious errors in the delivery of brother and sister Natasha and Patrick Jackson by the Sharoe Green Hospital in Preston, an “unprecedented” compensation payout of around £13m has been made.  Natasha, 23, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a result of errors made during her delivery. She has been awarded £7m.  Her brother Patrick, 22, received a £6m payout in 2010 for the same condition, also caused by errors at the same hospital.  Patrick was diagnosed with the condition aged 18 months.  Their mother, Paula McKay described how she was “devastated” to learn of Natasha’s condition shortly after her birth, and that it “ripped her heart out” to learn of Patrick’s condition at 18 months.

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Ambulance death investigated

A man is trying to “bring up a case of manslaughter” after he found his mother dead ten hours after she called 111 and the ambulance that was sent to her turned back. Ann Walters phoned the NHS helpline from her home in December and the call was referred on to 999. After an ambulance was sent to her Portsmouth home, it was recalled minutes before reaching her house.

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NHS complaint system ‘inadequate’

A recent review carried out by the office of the health service ombudsman found that over 40% of NHS investigations into patient complaints do not meet standards. The review looked at a total of 150 individual cases into allegations of avoidable harm or death, of which 61 had failed to handle the complaints adequately. Alongside these individual cases, the review looked at statements, records, the quality of the investigations and the evidence relied on.

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“Missed opportunities” caused patient death

A coroner in Essex has ruled that there were “missed opportunities” that could have saved the life of Matthew Leahy. The 20-year-old was found hanging in his room at a mental health centre in Chelmsford. He was found dead on 15 November 2012 after being affected by several health trust failings.

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Two hospitals ban paramedic

Two hospitals in Worcestershire have banned a whistleblower paramedic after he spoke out about severe overcrowding in their accident and emergency departments. Stuart Gardner, of the West Midlands Ambulance Service, had the ban imposed on him after detailing the extreme pressure that the A&E units were dealing with, describing them as “not safe” to the BBC. Following this, the chief operating officer (COO) of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust told him that he was no longer welcome at either of its hospitals.

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Disabled teen wins £8million

A teenager that was left severely disabled following injuries as a baby is to receive £8million in compensation.  The teenage boy from Belfast had been admitted to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast shortly after his birth because of an infection. Because hospital staff failed to treat the infection adequately, he suffered spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy.  On top of this, he also developed epilepsy and serious learning difficulties.  He now requires around-the-clock specialist care.

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Apology over hospital death

The health secretary has apologised to the family of a man who was sent home from hospital with an undiagnosed ruptured spleen. 20-year-old John Moore-Robinson died in 2006 after staff at Stafford Hospital failed to accurately diagnose his injuries. He had been involved in a mountain bike accident and was diagnosed with bruised ribs. A few hours later he collapsed and died at home.

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Investigation over mental health care

Staff at a mental health unit have been suspended following an allegation of mistreatment. A police investigation was launched at the mental health unit of Royal Blackburn Hospital after a patient was left screaming and covered in excrement for several hours. The Lancashire Care Foundation Trust, who runs the unit, is also investigating the allegation.

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Hospital still needs to make improvements

Four months after a hospital was rated “potentially high risk”, inspectors found that there is still a lot of room for improvement.  A Care Quality Commission report rated Kettering Hospital as on the verge of being ‘high risk’, with the report flagging up problems regarding the A&E department, the medical care being provided (especially for the elderly), and surgical procedures. Four months later, inspectors have identified improvements, but said that the trust is still not providing a particularly high standard of care to patients.

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Dentist suspended following hygiene concerns

A Nottinghamshire dentist has been suspended after 22,000 dental patients had to be recalled for screenings following hygiene concerns. The hygiene concerns were raised following the death of Amy Duffield in August 2013, shortly after she received treatment from Desmond D’Mello.  Following her death, NHS England discovered that Mr D’Mello failed to wash his hands and used the same instruments for different patients without sterilizing them in between appointments.

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