Stafford Hospital – serious failure to provide acceptable medical care


Stafford Hospital has been in the news recently for “appalling” emergency care. The Healthcare Commission has reported that about 400 more people died between 2005 and 2008 than would be expected.

The Healthcare Commission chairman said “There were inadequacies at almost every stage in the care of emergency patients”.

The Healthcare Commission report talks about low staffing levels, inadequate nursing and problems with equipment. The Commission is also critical of the Trust’s leadership.

The Trust has responded saying there will be an independent review and has issued an apology to patients and their families.

Unfit for purpose/unfit for practise….medical negligence explained

A medical negligence claim can arise out of the bad or poor management of a patient’s care.

A failure to provide adequate care, a failure to keep proper records, a failure to properly administer medication, a failure to properly operate machinery, all of these raise questions as to the adequacy of the care a patient is receiving.

The care a patient receives should be given by a person properly qualified, trained, supervised and in a position to give that care.

This includes proper communication between those involved in the care, whether by oral handovers or written records. It includes the use of the correct equipment by staff trained to use that equipment. And it includes having the right number of staff for the nursing care needed.

For example, medication can be given twice or not at all if medication sheets are not properly completed. Patients can miss meals if the caterers are not made aware of the patient’s needs. Patients can be discharged without proper information if information is missing from the records. Any of these can have serious consequences.

This article was written by Susan Hotchin - Medical Negligence Team.

Further information – Medical negligence compensation

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