Ipswich hospital confident about future

PATIENTS were today given firm assurances over standards at Ipswich Hospital following a damning report into appalling conditions at another NHS trust.

PATIENTS were today given firm assurances over standards at Ipswich Hospital following a damning report into appalling conditions at another NHS trust.

The “shocking” state of affairs at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust meant patients admitted as emergencies suffered due to serious lapses in care.

Between 400 and 1,200 more people died than would have been expected in a three-year period, the head of the investigation for the Healthcare Commission said.

Families described “Third World” conditions at the trust, particularly at Stafford Hospital, with some patients drinking water from vases because they were so thirsty and others screaming in pain.

Today, Ipswich Hospital chief executive Andrew Reed reassured patients the trust was in far stronger shape than Mid Staffordshire - and promised a repeat of the scandal could not happen in Ipswich.

“No trust should be complacent,” he said. “We have to take these things seriously. Mid Staffordshire's problem was created by having high mortality rates but our rates are very low and we check them regularly.

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“We will look at the situation in Mid Staffordshire and see what can be learnt but patients should be reassured that Ipswich Hospital is not in a similar position.”

Ipswich Hospital is currently attempting to become a foundation trust - a status designed to mark out outstanding hospitals which was achieved in Mid Staffordshire just weeks before the investigation was launched.

One of the complaints levelled at the Mid Staffordshire trust was its disproportionate concentration on meeting targets.

Mr Reed said: “Targets are important - people don't want to wait a long time in A&E, they don't want to be prone to getting serious infections.

“But you have to hit those targets while also ensuring the patient experience isn't compromised.”

Tell us your experiences of Ipswich Hospital - write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

See Star Opinion - page four.

The state of Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust

THE Healthcare Commission launched their inquiry after concerns were raised about higher than normal death rates in emergency care, in particular at Stafford Hospital.

The commission began the formal investigation last year, sifting through more than 1,000 documents and interviewing some 300 people.

It found deficiencies at “virtually every stage”, including inadequately trained staff who were too few in number, junior doctors left alone in charge at night and dirty wards and bathrooms.

Some patients were left in pain or needing the toilet, sat in soiled bedding for several hours at a time and were not given their regular medication, the investigation found.

Receptionists with no medical training were also left to assess patients coming in to A&E.

The investigation found heart monitors were turned off on wards because nurses did not know how to use them and some patients were left dehydrated because nurses did not know how to work intravenous fluid systems properly.

The report also found that the government's target for patients to be seen within four hours at A&E meant patients could be taken to “dumping grounds” to avoid breaching the target.

Some patients had their operations cancelled for up to four days running and were “nil by mouth” for most of those days, leaving them hungry and thirsty.

In one ward, 55 per cent of patients were found to have pressure sores when only 10pc had sores on arrival.

The trust was also found to be 120 nurses short in 2007/08, of which about 17 were needed in A&E, 30 in surgery and 77 on medical wards.

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