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Concerns have been raised about the level of care provided at St Mary’s Hospital in Newport on the Isle of Wight after the General Medical Council (GMC) inspected the hospital a few months ago. It is thought that the poor care may lead to an increase in patients and their families pursuing a medical negligence claim as a result.
The Care Quality Commission had previously rated the trust as inadequate in 2017.
During the inspection by the GMC, there were a number of concerns raised including foundation doctors being left alone and having to cover specialities beyond their competency coupled with trainees having inadequate supervision at night. It is unknown what impact this had on patient care, however, this could have led to insufficient care and monitoring of patients with debilitating conditions. Where poor decisions regarding care had been made, it may lead to an increase in patients seeking delayed diagnosis claims as a result, if their treatment was delayed.
In addition, the GMC also found that a patient was discharged by a bed management team without the doctor’s consent meaning this patient may have been sent home from hospital before they were actually fit to leave hospital. Unqualified trainees were also asked to discharge patients, meaning sufficient information may not have been gathered about the patient. This, combined with the fact that some departments refused to take patients in need due to capacity issues and there were often conflicting decisions made by bed management teams and doctors highlight that patients may not have received the level of care that they needed. Where care was not provided at the level that it should have been and where consequences occurred as a result, it may be possible to pursue a hospital negligence claim.
Concerns were also raised regarding the culture of the trust, with nurses saying that they were often shouted at by consultants and trainees often felt in the middle of consultant disagreements. In addition inappropriate behaviour from senior clinicians was reported relating to race and sexual orientation. As well as impacting employee morale and potentially leading to increased staff turnover this culture could mean that junior members of staff may not feel empowered to challenge senior staff decisions relating to patient care. This could lead to the incorrect decisions being made for patients and a poorer level of care being provided.
Alistair Flowerdew, Isle of Wight NHS Trust medical director commented on the plans to improve care:
“These include greater supervision and support of junior doctors by their consultants and restructuring the handover processes to ensure that continuity of care and patient safety are maintained at all times.”
Steps are now being taken to improve the level of care provided for patients, however for those already affected by the above this may be too little too late.