Health trusts' string of incidents

HEALTH trusts in Suffolk reported a catalogue of more than 100 serious problems in 2005, it emerged today.The figures, revealed by the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority (SHA), show that there were 115 Serious Untoward Incidents (SUIs) within health organisations last year.

HEALTH trusts in Suffolk reported a catalogue of more than 100 serious problems in 2005, it emerged today.

The figures, revealed by the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority (SHA), show that there were 115 Serious Untoward Incidents (SUIs) within health organisations last year.

Incidents include 20 unexpected deaths reported by the Suffolk Mental Health Partnership Trust (SMHPT) as well as assaults on health care staff.

One of the most common reported incidents was patients absconding from St Clement's which happened 66 times during the year, up from 44 last year.


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Lisa Llewelyn, head of the Centre for Service Excellence at SMHPT said: “Absconsions are recorded when patients who are detained under the mental health act do not return to their wards.

"It could be someone who has been allowed to go 'on leave' within the site and does not return, or someone who has been allowed a home visit and does not return at the allocated time."

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Ms Llewelyn said the increase in numbers could be because staff are becoming better at reporting these incidents, rather than any lapse in care.

She added that unexpected deaths could eventually prove to be suicide once an inquest has been held but said many of them were due to natural causes.

At Ipswich Hospital problems reported included two infection control incidents - one of which is believed to be the death of baby Luke Day in February last year - and a seven other problems such as assault and professional competence.

The Suffolk East PCTs also reported seven incidents but a spokesman for both the PCTs and the hospital said that to disclose any further information about the incidents could prejudice the operation of the serious untoward reporting system.

The East Anglian Ambulance Trust reported five incidents but only one of these, an unexpected death, happened in east Suffolk.

The incident relates to the death of Ipswich man David Halley-Frame who died after waiting 28 minutes for an ambulance in Ipswich town centre in August.

Matthew Ware, spokesman for the Trust, said: "There are still on-going discussions about Mr Halley-Frame but all of the other issues have been resolved satisfactorily."

A spokesman for West Suffolk Hospital and Suffolk West PCT refused to provide any more details of the seven incidents they reported, claiming it could lead to the identification of the people involved.

The SHA stressed comparisons should not be made between organisations as there is no standard definition of a SUI.

Alan Burns, chief executive, said: "The number of reports from individual trusts should not be taken to imply they are good or bad in terms of the quality of care provided.

"We are encouraging all trusts to report SUIs in the interests of maximising the learning from each event.”

Are you concerned by these figures? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

SUFFOLK MENTAL HEALTH PARTNERSHIP TRUST

Absconsion: 66

Professional misconduct: 3

Unexpected death: 20

Assaults: 3

IPSWICH HOSPITAL

Infection control: 2

Assault: 1

Professional competence: 2

Self-harm: 1

Patient-safety: 1

Maternity: 2

CENTRAL SUFFOLK PCT

Child protection: 3

Professional competence: 1

SUFFOLK COASTAL PCT

Unexpected death: 2

IPSWICH PCT:

Child protection issues: 1

SUFFOLK WEST PCT

IT: 1

Child protection issues: 1

WEST SUFFOLK HOSPITAL:

Professional competence: 2

Unexpected death: 1

Breach of confidentiality: 1

Other: 1

EAST ANGLIAN AMBULANCE TRUST:

Professional competence: 2

Unexpected death: 2

Patient left a moving ambulance: 1

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