Bereaved Families Failed by NHS


The latest report from The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has put treatment of bereaved families under the spotlight. The report highlights problems throughout the NHS in the way Hospital Trusts investigate preventable patient deaths. The CQC says failings are even more widespread when the patient has a mental health issue or learning disability.


Familiar concerns about the NHS


“For many of our clients, these findings do not reveal anything new” says Alan Mendham. “One of the key reasons that families come to us for legal advice is because they have had difficulty getting honest answers about inadequate care and treatment. Even once a claim has been made, a culture of defensiveness in the NHS often means that the claim drags on for longer than it needs to.”


Findings confirm views from the Patients Association


The Patients Association said that the report “confirmed that too many hospitals did not honestly and openly investigate complaints from relatives.” The report heavily criticises the NHS in five key areas, including:


  • Inconsistent decision-making on whether or not to investigate a death
  • The quality of its investigations
  • Poor involvement of families and carers in reviews and investigations
  • Poor reporting and sharing of information
  • Lack of systems to ensure recommendations are acted upon and learning shared


Hospitals to publish preventable death statistics


Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said that hospitals will be made to publish data on avoidable deaths and serious incidents from March 31st 2017.

“This is a step towards greater transparency” says Alan. “If it also means that bereaved families are treated with the sensitivity and respect they deserve, then that will be a huge improvement. However, more needs to be done to avoid such tragedies occurring in the first place, and to ensure that the NHS is more willing to admit to and learn from its mistakes.“


To see how Gadsby Wicks have helped patients and their families make a medical negligence claim because of poor treatment, please see our case studies here

Posted 14th December 2016 | Posted in News,Uncategorised