Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Report Lambasts Cover Up Culture

Over two years after opening the inquiry, the report on the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust has been published and it makes for very sorry reading.

The report concludes that there were as many as 1,200 more deaths than would have been expected had proper care been provided within the hospital.  The report criticises not only the hospital, but the entire culture of the NHS and the failure at all levels from local GPs to the Department of Health for failing to act in the face of appalling negligence at the hospital.

One element of the report that many will find shocking is that this hospital was not honest with patients or their families when things went wrong, but instead tried to cover up reports from staff of poor care, which has led to the recommendation of a criminal sanction for hospital staff who try to cover up mistakes.

We have seen many cases where hospitals have not carried out any internal investigation to ascertain why a patient has been injured during the course of medical treatment.  For example, cases where a baby, following a straightforward low-risk pregnancy suffers cerebral palsy.  If the clinician responsible for the mistake genuinely does not know that they have made a mistake, as will often be the case with junior staff, mistakes will still be missed unless there is also a sanction for failing to investigate when things go wrong.

Many of our clients have come to us seeking redress having already made a complaint to the hospital which was investigated internally.  Very few of those investigations identify any shortcomings in the care provided, yet when we investigate those claims with the assistance of independent medical experts, very often numerous instances of negligent medical treatment are found.

Perhaps the most extreme case that we have seen involved a client who complained to a hospital having suffered a serious injury during surgery.  She received a response from the Chief Executive of the hospital that her complaint had been investigated and her care reviewed by the doctor who was the head of the surgical team and he had advised that no criticism could be made of her care and that she had simply suffered an unavoidable complication of the procedure.  Many patients would have left it at that, but our client was not satisfied and asked us to investigate a claim for medical negligence.  When we obtained the medical records as a part of our investigation, we found an internal memo written by the same doctor stating that there if our client were to pursue a claim for medical negligence it would be impossible to defend it, such was the manner in which the surgery had been carried out.  She subsequently received an apology and compensation for her injury.

Posted 6th February 2013 | Posted in News,Uncategorised