25th Sep, 2017

Worcestershire Royal Hospital is cleared over patient deaths

Malvern Editorial 13th Jul, 2017

THE INCIDENTS which led to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt declaring ‘Worcestershire Royal is the hospital he is most worried about’ have been investigated – and cleared – by the local health trust.

Mr Hunt’s comments followed reports in early January this year of two patients dying on trolleys in the Royal’s Accident & Emergency department with a third patient found hanged on a ward.

Chief Nurse Vicky Morris told a board meeting of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust last week that all three incidents had been investigated and had now been closed.

In the first case of a patient found hanged from a drip on a ward, she said the person had suffered with mental health problems and that “there was no major issues we needed to follow through on in terms of our care.”

In the second case of a patient dying on a trolley in the emergency department, she told the board their investigation had discovered he had suffered a ruptured aortic aneurysm, a catastrophic failure of the body’s main artery.

She added that the surgeon had since worked closely with the patient’s family explaining what would have been the inevitable outcome whatever treatment their loved one received.

The third incident involved a 96-year-old woman who died of heart failure peacefully in the emergency department.

“This was not a case of her being on a trolley for 36 hours and this case was not recorded as a serious incident,” said the Chief Nurse.

She added that in all three cases the care of the patients had been reviewed in detail.

Health campaigners in the county have long argued that Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust’s decision to concentrate critical A&E cases at Worcestershire Royal Hospital in Worcester instead of also making full use of facilities at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, would place too much pressure on a department and hospital which was designed to serve the people of Worcester and not the entire county.

The trust has also centred coronary care, stroke care, maternity and overnight paediatric care at the Royal site.

The trust was placed in special measures by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in 2015 and a recent report published by the CQC found that in some respects care at the trust had actually gone worse.

However, the Health Secretary Mr Hunt has repeatedly placed his faith in the new management team at the trust to turn it around and improve care there.

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