Back in June 2018 the Care Quality Commission (CQC) raised concerns about the care provided by Worcestershire Acute Hospital NHS Trust, delivered through Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Alexandra Hospital and Kidderminster Hospital and Treatment Centre in particular.
The Trust has been in special measures since December 2015 and that CQC inspection report found that improvements in services had not been fast or consistent enough. Concerns remained about urgent and emergency care, surgery and outpatients which were (and still are) rated as inadequate overall.
Surgical errors, delays and cancellations
That was certainly the experience of our client who had surgery at Alexandra Hospital to remove his damaged left elbow joint and replace it with a prosthesis in January 2009. He now suffers pain, discomfort and immobility in both limbs. His suffering was compounded by a delay in surgery of almost a year for a humeral fracture to his right arm sustained in a fall in 2014. A local press report claims that delays and cancellations have also affected many other patients and that no operations are taking place at the Worcestershire Royal Trust for anyone with head, neck or oral cancers.
Failures in post-operative care
Although her operation for oral cancer carried out at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust was successful, Maureen Anne Robson, died in the Intensive Care Unit on 7 November 2017. An inquest which closed on 28 February 2019 at Stourport Coroner’s Court came to the conclusion that Mrs Robson'died as a consequence of a known, albeit rare, complication of surgery.'
Victoria Blankstone, a specialist medical negligence lawyer who represented Mrs Robson’s family at inquest, explains that the ‘complication’ referred to by HM Coroner was largely due to the displacement and failure to notice a malfunction of a tracheostomy tube inserted to assist Mrs Robson’s breathing after the 11 hour operation. Victoria comments:
‘While the Trust have made the necessary changes to their policy regarding the care of patients who have tracheostomies, the family remain concerned about the care Mrs Robson received shortly before she died. Those concerns seem to be reflected shared by the CQC, whose latest inspection report does not appear to have changed their overall opinion of the Trust, which remains in special measures’
Kashmir Uppal, a medical negligence partner in the firm, adds:
‘This is a worryingly consistent catalogue of errors and continuing series of failures across the Trust. There is clearly much more to be done to ensure that patients receive an acceptable standard of surgical and post-operative care at Worcestershire Acute Hospital NHS Trust.