Potential Increased Risk of Clinical Negligence at Colchester Hospital Remains

In May last year we reported that Colchester Hospital had the most “never events” in the country, but, after being placed on the “special measures” list for urgent improvement more than two years ago by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the hospital trust may still be failing patients, and may be putting them at risk through unsafe practices.

This follows another comprehensive inspection carried out at the hospital between the 15th and 18th of September 2015 by the health watchdog. This latest report itself follows on from a number of damning prior CQC investigations, the most recent as late as July 2015 – which resulted in urgent measures being implemented to protect the safety of patients.

Severe Staff Shortages ‘Putting Patients at Risk’

Amongst the issues putting patients at risk of substandard care – which can in some instances amount to clinical negligence – were severe staff shortages at the institution. Specifically, Colchester was found to be short of junior, trainee and middle-grade professionals across a number of different surgical specialties, resulting in a high volume of ad-locum staff and subsequent inconsistencies in relation to patient care standards.

Clinical Leadership ‘Failing to Address Issues’

Another concern highlighted by the CQC report related to the nature of clinical leadership, and its failure to recognise or address issues already impacting patient care and safety at the hospital. Alarmingly, authority figures at the hospital were to be either unaware of and / or ineffective at addressing concerns raised by CQC investigations both past and contemporary. Where measures were put in place, they were rarely followed through to completion.

Peldon Ward Harbouring ‘Bullying Culture’

Peldon Ward was also found to be harbouring a “bullying culture” amongst staff. This contributed to poor staff morale, and an unwillingness to raise or address systemic problems openly. The CQC report indicates that moving forward issues like this also need to be considered far more seriously by the board of directors.

Significant Improvements Not Made

England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals; Professor Sir Mike Richards has commented on the continued failings at the hospital to the BBC, stating:

“It was a real concern to us that significant improvements had not been made.”

In a move welcomed by the CQC a new Chief Executive; Mr Nick Hulme – former Chief Exec. at Ipswich Hospital – has been appointed to help address failings at Colchester. He has since issued a statement outlining his beliefs on the task ahead:

“We need to take a long hard look at ourselves in the mirror. We are not consistently delivering a high quality of care to the people we serve in a timely and efficient manner. People in north east Essex deserve better from their local hospital trust and I want to give them a heartfelt apology.”

Those who have suffered poor care at Colchester Hospital however, and who have to live with the effects of such negligence will not be comforted by the words of the new Chief Executive.

Blackwater Law clinical negligence solicitors provide legal advice and support to patients across the country that have received poor care from a hospital or GP practice. If you have received poor health care, Blackwater Law clinical negligence can help you too.

To find out if you have a potential claim for medical negligence compensation, contact Blackwater Law Solicitors today on 0800 083 5500 and receive free initial legal advice. You will speak with a specialist clinical negligence solicitor who will quickly inform you whether you may be able to make a no win, no fee claim for compensation.