Watchdogs call for action as review shows failings at University Hospitals Leicester

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Health watchdogs say they are “deeply concerned” by a review that found one in five hospital patients were given “unacceptable” care.

The results of an independent review into end-of-life care at University Hospitals Leicester were published last week.

The review, based on case studies between March 2012 and June 2013, looked at care before admission to hospital, during their stay and after being discharged. It found that in 89 of the 381 cases examined, care was unacceptable in one or more aspects.

Healthwatch groups in Rutland, Leicester and Leicestershire said it was important NHS organisations in the region acted quickly on the findings of the review.

A joint statement said: “It is deeply worrying that over one in five of the 381 patient cases that were surveyed were deemed to have an ‘unacceptable level of care’ but also that of the remaining numbers where care was ‘of an acceptable standard’ one in three yielded lessons to be learnt.

“Of the original files reviewed (422) nearly 10 per cent (41) had records missing, which excluded them from the review, which is a concern in itself.

“We commend the NHS organisations for taking the initiative on this matter however it is critical that patients and service users are involved in the planning process going forward. There is valuable information captured in the review and the health organisations in the city and county now know what needs to be fixed.

“We hope to see swift and decisive action, rather than further unnecessary information gathering.”

Among the problems uncovered in the review were confusion about do not attempt resuscitation orders, delays in giving antibiotics, communication problems between hospitals and GPs and cases where a patient’s management plan was not clear.

Medical director for University Hospitals Leicester Dr Kevin Harris and chairman of the West Leicestershire Clinical Commissioning Group Professor Mayur Lakhani CBE have apologised to patients and their families.

They said: “We take this report very seriously. As doctors we want to do much more for our patients and it is essential that we have a high quality local joined up health care system.

“On the evidence of this review, we have let some people down. For this, we want to apologise to the families of all 89 patients whom the review found to have received substandard care and assure them that we are going to work tirelessly with our colleagues to make substantial and lasting improvements to the local health system.”