Ashtons Legal lawyer comments on patients deaths at Stafford Hospital

  • Posted

Posted 25/02/2010

Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp, a Clinical Negligence Lawyer at Ashtons Legal, comments on the damning report which catalogues the failings in care leading to the deaths of up to 1,200 patients at Stafford Hospital:

Just when we thought we had seen the worst of the NHS in the Bristol heart cases, we find another huge scandal and one of even greater seriousness following the report into deficiencies of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust highlighted in the report by Robert Francis QC.

The report findings are truly shocking and include literally hundreds of cases of misdiagnosis, poor nutrition and hydration, lack of basic cleanliness, poor communication, no respect for patient’s privacy or wellbeing plus a number of complications due to premature discharge from hospital and inadequate support for patients who have been sent home. All of this took place in an atmosphere of fear for patients and staff describing the latter a culture of bullying and who were clearly too frightened to report adverse incidents to their managers.

Whilst we are all aware of the Herculean efforts of doctors and nurses, most of whom provide an excellent standard of care in very difficult circumstances, the criticisms of this Foundation Trust demonstrate that there is much work to be done. As Chris Mellors, Chair of Foundation Trusts has said, there is “more to do especially in terms of a new culture of openness”. Thankfully in April there is the inception of the mandatory reporting of adverse incidents to the Patient Safety Agency.

However it is clear from the cases that the medical law team at Ashtons Legal deal with on a daily basis from Trusts across the country as well as from people’s own personal experience either relating to their own treatment or that of a relative, that the criticisms of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust could equally be levelled at other Trusts throughout the UK. Moreover, many of the issues identified in the Mid Staffordshire report were highlighted at the Inquiry into the Bristol heart cases. In order to stop these horror stories from repeating themselves there needs to be a fundamental change in attitude within the NHS and a greater concentration on caring for the patient and a reintroduction of some basic principles namely of kindness, empathy and compassion. In the quest for targets, systems and Changes to Medical and Nursing Education, these basics seem to have been forgotten.

Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp RGN, LLB (Hons), MA (Medical Law & Ethics)
Ashtons Legal


    How can we help you?

    Please fill in the form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible or to speak to one of our experts call
    0330 404 0749

    I accept that my data will be held for the purpose of my enquiry in accordance with Ashtons
    Privacy Policy

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

    How can we help?

    If you have an enquiry or you would like to find out more about our services, why not contact us?