Hospital review launched after deaths

AN INDEPENDENT review is to be launched at Ipswich Hospital following a string of high-profile deaths, it can be revealed today.Andrew Reed, chief executive of the hospital has pledged to restore public confidence following several inquests in recent months which revealed better care could have prevented the deaths.

AN INDEPENDENT review is to be launched at Ipswich Hospital following a string of high-profile deaths, it can be revealed today.

Andrew Reed, chief executive of the hospital has pledged to restore public confidence following several inquests in recent months which revealed better care could have prevented the deaths.

Mr Reed, who began working at the hospital in July, has asked for an independent review of all of the hospital's procedures to ensure the highest possible quality of care.

And he added that staff could still find themselves subject to disciplinary matters if the review finds that hospital protocols were not properly adhered to.

He said: “It depends on what we find.

“But the way we get things right, long-term, is to give staff the confidence to hold their hands up and say 'that's what went wrong'. “The quicker we can find out about the mistakes the quicker we can do something about them.

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“There will inevitably be cases occasionally where the transgression of agreed protocol was just so blatant you would have to do something about it, but we want people to learn from it more than anything else.”

Mr Reed said that in a hospital which treats 400,000 patients a year the possibility of human error cannot be eliminated.

But he added: “But on the back of all this I think it's probably a good time to look at what we can learn.

“I want to review our processes to ensure they work well and that we are doing as much as we can to eliminate risk.

“Obviously, when these incidents happen you are concerned about the public impact of that, you're concerned that people will start to think that this kind of thing happens every day.

“We need to go a bit further to ensure we've got the right processes in place and restore confidence.”

Dr Norman Pinder, consultant in public health for the Strategic Health Authority (SHA), will be coming to the hospital for three months to draw up an action plan of how things can be improved.

Gwen Collins, the hospital's director of nursing, said the maternity department had been left particularly shaken by the deaths of two babies in the last year.

She said: “It has been a very difficult time for everybody but they are determined to learn from it, turn it round and make it the beacon site it should be.

“Lots of policies and procedures have been reviewed and updated, but it's not always about the policies being wrong, it's about ensuring people are working to them, and we are currently conducting a complete review of the maternity and child health services at the hospital.”

Has your confidence in the hospital declined? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

In the last 12 months three inquests have been held in to deaths at the hospital, revealing serious failings in care:

Baby Luke Day died in February this year, aged just 36 hours, after contracting an MRSA infection.

Another baby, Rowanne Barbrook, died shortly after she was born in October last year after doctors failed to spot the signs of an E.Coli infection.

Betty Underwood, 77, died in December 2004 after a breakdown in communication led doctors to carry on prescribing her a blood-thinning drug she no longer needed.

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