Medical Negligence at Broomfield Hospital: Care Quality Commission Raises Concerns

By Blackwater Law

A report published by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) on August the 5th 2015 raises concerns about medical negligence at Broomfield Hospital in Essex. The report indicates that the hospital is still failing across the board when it comes to safeness, effectiveness, responsiveness and leadership.

The most recent report into the hospital by the CQC relates to the hospital’s Emergency Department (ED), Emergency Assessment Unit (EAU) and Emergency Short Stay wards (ESS), and whilst the quality of care itself was rated “good”, the hospital has been issued an overall rating of “inadequate”. The findings raise concerns for the clinical negligence solicitors at Blackwater Law, who deal with multiple medical negligence compensation claims against the hospital on behalf of patients.

Staffing Levels at Broomfield Hospital ‘Not Sufficient to Provide Safe Care’

Amongst the concerns highlighted by the CQC was the fact that some patients are being forced to wait for unreasonable periods of time to be transferred from an ambulance to the hospital. Inspectors found the Emergency department to be highly disorganised, with a number of patients waiting in excess of 12 hours for care. Furthermore, it was unclear as to whether or not the hospital could provide adequate pain relief to patients arriving at the hospital, and “Infection control practices in the emergency department were poor with some staff observed not washing their hands or using hand gels between patients”. Perhaps most worryingly, one inspector statement reads: “urgent and emergency services did not protect patients from abuse or avoidable harm because staffing levels were not sufficient to provide safe care to patients”. This is not the first time Broomfield has fallen foul of CQC inspection standards and presents further indication that the hospital may not be meeting its duty of care towards patients. Where the care provided to patients falls below what would be reasonably expected and this leads to harm or an avoidable deterioration in health, patients may be able to claim clinical negligence compensation.

‘Poor Level of Care and Treatment’ at Broomfield Hospital

Addressing the findings of the report in a statement to the Maldon Standard, Professor Sir Mike Richards, the Chief Inspectors of Hospitals is quoted as saying:

“I am concerned that the Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust has not taken sufficient action to address the requirements of our previous inspections, and that patients coming in to the Urgent and Emergency Services continue to experience a poor level of care and treatment. The flow through the emergency department, the high number of staff vacancies and the arrangements to triage urgent cases still had an impact on the care patients received, which in some cases was poor.”

The report goes on to indicate that the trust responsible for Broomfield has failed to effectively implement the recommendations of five prior CQC reports, and that patients continue to experience an unsatisfactory level of care of treatment. The general culture at the institution was also poor, with staff failing to effectively report and learn from incidents, and fear throughout emergency departments that staff would be blamed locally by management for the failure to meet targets.

Potential for Medical Negligence at Broomfield Hospital Exacerbated

The potential for medical negligence to occur at the hospital was found to be further exacerbated by a number of additional areas of concern:

  • Standards of care for patients with mental health problems failed to meet the levels required of an emergency department;
  • Staffing shortages were notable throughout the department, especially in relation to nursing;
  • Department-level governance structures required significant improvement as they were not robust enough to endure the stresses of everyday patient influx; and
  • Senior management and executive teams did not understand the key challenges faced by lower level staff at the department.

Leadership Changes Affecting Staff Morale

Multiple leadership changes with the emergency departments has adversely affected staff morale at all levels
Commenting on the report, clinical negligence solicitor, Christopher Livingston, said:

“The continuing problems at Broomfield Hospital reported on by the CQC are of deep concern. It is not acceptable that the hospital has not made changes to practices and procedures which would improve patient care as recommended by earlier CQC reports. It is clear the hospital has many challenges to deal with but failure to deal with these promptly may put patients’ lives and health at risk.”

Another Essex Hospital ‘Raising Concerns’

Unfortunately, the potential medical negligence at Broomfield is not the first instance of an Essex hospital providing inadequate medical care for its patients. Back in May, we reported on NHS England’s report on the amount of “never ever” events at Colchester University Hospital. The report followed an inspection by the CQC which rated the hospital as ‘inadequate’.

You Could be Entitled to Clinical Negligence Compensation

If you or family members feel you may have received poor care at Broomfield Hospital, or any other hospital, you may be entitled to clinical negligence compensation. Blackwater Law clinical negligence solicitors are well placed to provide you with the expert legal advice and support about issues relating to medical misdiagnosis, cancer misdiagnosis, surgical errors and anything else relating to clinical negligence. Call today on 0800 083 5500 and speak with a specialist clinical negligence solicitor for free initial expert advice. All accepted cases are operated on a “no win, no fee” basis.