Hospital safety issues being 'masked' say parents whose daughter died after doctors missed seriousness of illness - The Leamington Observer

Hospital safety issues being 'masked' say parents whose daughter died after doctors missed seriousness of illness

Laura Kearns 11th Apr, 2018   0

PARENTS whose young daughter died after the seriousness of her illness was not spotted by doctors claim hospital safety issues are being ‘masked’.

Helen and Trevor Smith were left devastated after their seven-year-old daughter Evelyn died from Bacterial Tracheitis – an infection of the windpipe – in 2013.

She had been sent home from Warwick Hospital A&E, a medical centre and by a GP, within 36 hours of her death. An inquest ruled it had been preventable.

South Warwickshire Foundation Trust – which runs Warwick Hospital along with Stratford, Leamington and Ellen Badger hospitals – was recently awarded a ‘good’ overall rating by healthcare inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

But in the category for safety – one of five leading to the overall rating – it was ranked as ‘requiring improvement’ and that has concerned the Smiths.

Helen – who founded ‘acts of kindness’ charity Evelyn’s Gift after her daughter’s death – told the Observer: “The vast majority of people receiving NHS care are given excellent and compassionate treatment and I have had a very good experience from day surgery at Warwick.

“But we are concerned about cases where patients are not being protected against poor care and that there is a culture that lacks openness and honesty.

“The latest information about the improved CQC rating is misleading and masks the detail, including that Warwick Hospital requires improvement.

“Following our horrific experience of investigating our daughter’s death, we realised future deaths cannot be prevented by a culture which refuses to acknowledge what has gone wrong. People need to realise even one preventable death can cause the utter devastation of the lives of loved ones and is a life sentence to those affected.

“We found the trust is not meeting guidelines for nursing and midwife levels. This is one of the issues picked up by the CQC report, along with not consistently monitoring risks to patients or storing medicines correctly.”

The trust ‘requires improvement’ in safety for maternity, A&E and medical care, which the couple say should be more important than any other checks.

Helen added: “We find it remarkable the trust has been given a ‘good’ rating when they ‘require improvement’ in the safe category.

“We believe safety should override other factors and should automatically trigger a ‘requires improvement’ rating for trust.”

SWFT chief executive Glen Burley said the trust was working on improving areas highlighted in the CQC report.

He said: “There are always opportunities to improve safety in an organisation as complex as ours.

“We are very open and transparent about our outcomes and each month publish information about this in our public board papers.

“The CQC look at a number of measures to complete their assessment and make an overall judgement. This rating is supported by our recent staff survey results and the generally very positive patient feedback we receive.

“Our teams are completing actions to address each area the CQC have highlighted for improvement. In doing so we are conscious that the inspection coincided with one of the busiest periods on record for the trust.”

The CQC said the rating looked at the overall state of the trust. Inspectors say its rating for Warwick Hospital ‘required improvement’ due to lack of risk assessments, medicines not stored correctly and patient information not always being securely stored.

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