Are Liverpool Women’s Hospital Learning from their Mistakes?

Author:
Carly Saxon-Garnett
Senior Associate Medical Negligence Solicitor
Date:
16/07/2021

A series of serious incidents at Liverpool Women's Hospital has sparked a review into patient safety and the performance of the Trust.

Having worked in Medical Negligence law for around 10 years, I know only too well about the impact that making medical mistakes can have on patients. So I welcome any review which identifies the need for change and improves patient safety.

Liverpool Women’s Hospital is my local Trust and many of my family and friends rely on its services heavily. That heightens my desire to see changes put in place, but worryingly, it seems lessons are not being learnt.

This week, Simpson Millar has been approached by a lady whose treatment has been delayed by 5 years after biopsy results were never actioned. She has suffered severe pain throughout this period and has now been advised her case will form part of a wider audit at the Hospital.

Repeated Mistakes at Liverpool Women’s Hospital

The failure to follow up this patient isn’t an isolated incident and concerning themes have emerged from a report conducted by a Serious Incident Panel at Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

The role of the panel is to monitor performance and safety, and they’ve identified several troubling incidents which are now under review, including:

      • The deaths of new-born babies
      • Cancerous tumours being left untreated for months
      • A swab being left inside a woman during a caesarean section

In my experience, these panels are successful at identifying the root cause of such incidents and in making recommendations for change.

But patient safety will only improve when those changes are carried out.

Recommendations Not Being Carried Out

The recent CCG report from chief nurse Jane Lunt said: "There has been limited assurance in relation to triangulation of learning from previous Never Events and serious incidents and little or no reference in the reports to the Trust Local Safety Standards for Invasive Procedures, with recommendations made for the Trust to submit improved reports or strengthened action plans."

It’s worrying that recommendations and necessary training don’t seem to have been actioned.

I am concerned with how this will impact not just on patient safety, but also on patient confidence in the hospital being able to deliver reasonable care.

Liverpool Women's Hospital has logged 23 'Serious Untoward Incidents' in 2020/21 so far, up from 13 in 2019/20 and 17 in 2018/19 which would suggest lessons are not being learnt.

It’s my view this report demonstrates the time for change is now and I hope the ongoing audit will help identify patients who may have received unreasonable care and who need further treatment.

As a Medical Negligence Solicitor, my job is to help those who have suffered as a result of medical mistakes and I can help clients obtain independent medical opinions on the quality of care received, in providing answers on what went wrong and ensuring appropriate treatment and rehabilitation needs are met.

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