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Latest personal injury news and updates.

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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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 dangerously inadequate

Following a recent inspection, a care home in Bradford has been found to be dangerously inadequate. Inspectors found that Cooper House Care Home, which cares predominantly for dementia sufferers, was very poorly managed and understaffed, making it highly “unsafe” for its patients. Cooper House Care Home was one of three care homes marked as ‘inadequate’ in the north of England following recent inspections.

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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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A&E targets missed nine months running

Derriford Hospital in Plymouth’s A&E department has missed the national four-hour waiting time target for the ninth month in a row, according to a recent report. Chief Executive of the hospital, Anne James, said that the A&E department had been dealing with “significant pressure” recently as a result of a “sustained increase” in patients attending the department. The hospital is currently on ‘black alert’, meaning that its services are in extremely high demand.

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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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Union fears over fire ambulance project

A union has called for additional measures to be introduced in a project that sees fire crews respond to medical emergencies in ambulances. The project, ‘The Joint Ambulance Conveyance Project’ (JACP), was introduced in September and has already seen crews at three Lincolnshire fire stations called out seventy times. Where The Fire Brigades Union said that they supported the idea, bosses admitted that they were “chancing it” if a fire were to occur while crews were in ambulances.

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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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Health trust apologises over cancer care

A health trust has apologised to the cancer patients treated by a consultant who was recently dismissed. A total of 27 patients received letters in the post apologising for consultant Paul Miller’s treatment between 2006 and last December.  Mr Miller had been working at East Surrey Hospital, treating bladder and prostate cancer patients.

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Mother awarded £2.25m compensation

After a woman’s son was born prematurely after she was fitted with a contraceptive device during pregnancy, she has been awarded £2.25 million in compensation. Cian Bowen, now seven-years-old, was born with severe brain damage and now suffers with cerebral palsy even though his intellect is still intact.

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Doctor was unaware of spleen rupture

A Stafford Hospital doctor discharged a patient with a ruptured spleen despite a paramedic classing his condition as “life-threatening”.  20-year-old John Moore-Robinson had gone to Stafford Hospital after he fell off his bike near his home in Sileby, Leicestershire.  Even though the telecommunications engineer informed the hospital that he had a life-threatening condition prior to his arrival, the doctor that dealt with him said he only had bruised ribs and discharged him the following day.  Mr Moore-Robinson died at home a few hours later.

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Pensioner receives compensation for failed cosmetic surgery

69-year-old Pearl Richman has been awarded over £40,000 in compensation after a facelift caused her to develop a skin condition called necrosis. Mrs Richman underwent the procedure in 2010 but was left with open flesh wounds and a cell injury called necrosis, which causes the premature death of skin cells.  Following the botched procedure, Mrs Richman took her case to a country court hearing in April, where the judge awarded her compensation against the negligent doctor.

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Inadequate GP practices to be closed down

It has been confirmed that the special measures regime for hospitals will now be extended to GP practices, meaning that those given the bottom rating could be closed down.  This agreement, drawn up by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), will fall into play in October, with the hope to have inspected all 8,000 practices by March 2016.  Practices with a poor rating will be given six months or a year to improve, or face closure.

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Error costs health trust £1.2million

A healthcare trust has been billed over £1million after a former patient sued over the loss of his leg.  Following a relentless legal battle, Edward Appleby has won a six-figure settlement over the treatment he received at North Devon District Hospital in 2005, which he blames for the loss of his leg.  Even though Northern Devon Healthcare Trust has not admitted liability for negligence, they apologised for having incomplete documentation on his care following a road accident. It was heard that the hospital failed to find the majority of his medical notes.

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£12 million to parents of disabled boy

A seven-year-old boy was awarded a payout of £12 million at London’s High Court on Thursday after he was left severly disabled when doctors failed to recognise his abnormal heartbeat at birth. Toby Hart was born at Friarage Hospital in Northallerton in October 2006, but now requires 24-hour care following failings at birth.  He has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, epilepsy, a severe learning disability, and has been registered blind.

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Will ambulance cuts put “lives at risk”?

A trade union has warned that the North West’s plan to cut ambulance services could put “lives at risk”.  The North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) aims to save millions of pounds a year by cutting the number of vehicles on the road.  They aim to achieve this by withdrawing many of the vehicles operating a night, in a bid to save them a total of £14m a year.  The NWAS said that vehicles would still be available for emergencies, but in non-life threatening situations, patients would be “pointed in the right direction”.

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NHS 111 call handling failings

The chief executive of The South Western Ambulance Service has admitted to failings surrounding the handling of 111 calls.  He said the service has “failed to deliver the performance required”, particularly in the handling of weekend calls.  In one week alone, nearly 900 people seeking non-emergency advice in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset abandoned their calls due to their poor handling by call staff.  The trust is currently reviewing their staff as a result.

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Surgeon erased from medical register

Following 75 complaints made by patients, previously sacked surgeon Dr David Jackson has been removed from the medical register all together.  Dr David Jackson was sacked and suspended in 2007 but has not managed to appear before a disciplinary hearing due to poor health.  As a result, A Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) has granted him “voluntary erasure”.  A spokesperson from East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust said that £651,000 has already been paid out to 15 of his past patients.

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