Learning lessons to improve patient safety

Carole Watts of Ashton KCJ

Carole Watts of Ashton KCJ - Credit: Archant

Legally Speaking with Ashton KCJ

It has recently been reported that funding may be cut to the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) who regulates hospitals, and doctors and the CQC expects to carry out fewer inspections. The report states that the CQC intends to use social media to provide early intelligence and capture problems before “something awful” happens.

Whilst I applaud the proposal to look out for potential problems on social media, at the same time it concerns me that fewer inspections will take place.

Although I appreciate inspections are costly, they do serve a very important role in ensuring standards in health care are maintained. In addition to maintaining inspections and the use of social media,

I would call for wider powers to be given to the CQC or National Patient Safety Agency to enable them to gather data from inquests and complaints made to regulatory bodies such as the General Medical Council (GMC) and Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in order to identify further areas of concern.


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To illustrate, I acted for the parents of a young lady who tragically lost her life as a result of poor care at just 28 years of age.

An inquest was held into her death and the coroner found that there was a failure in the system of monitoring, observation and documentation of the patient’s deteriorating condition which resulted in a lost opportunity to render further earlier medical attention.

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A complaint was also made to the GMC who found serious failings in care by three of the five doctors involved in her care but the GMC decided to take no action against the doctors.

Following her death, the hospital has said that changes in the procedures and systems have been made at the hospital.

Whilst I do not doubt that in this case the hospital has taken this incident very seriously and has made changes, is enough being done to share information between hospitals and doctors for the purpose of ensuring that lessons are learned, not just in the hospital where an incident occurs, but also in other hospitals as well?

A national body with powers to ensure that changes are made following findings of poor care, and that the corrective action taken by the hospital is monitored to ensure the improvements are maintained, would provide a further safety net to help prevent similar incidents from occurring again in the future.

Carole Watts

Medical Injury Lawyer

T: 01223 431124

E: carole.watts@ashtonkcj.co.uk

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