Following the publication of the damning Mid-Staffordshire report, the NHS can expect an ‘explosion’ of medical negligence claims, according to the Law Society Gazette.
A spokesperson for the NHS litigation Authority has admitted that there has been an increase in claims in recent years against the NHS and following the Mid Staffordshire report, a spike is expected.
According to reports on the Mid-Staffs scandal, it has been estimated that between 400 and 1200 more patients than expected died as a direct result of substandard care experienced in Stafford Hospital.
The Independent Inquiry into care by the Mid Staffordshire NHS trust was published in February this year, after carefully compiling years’ worth of claims by relatives of poorly-treated patients.
A compilation of witness accounts from patients, relatives and staff, the Inquiry – lead by Robert Francis QC – revealed that patients spending time at the hospital suffered as a result of poor staff levels and poor management of nurses. Mid-Staffs negligence reports reveal a harrowing side of the NHS, struggling to meet unrealistic cut targets.
On many occasions, patients were left lying in soiled bed sheets for days. Relatives recount having to conduct simple tasks such as cleaning their loved ones and on some occasions changing burst catheters themselves.
Patients who needed assistance to reach the toilet were left waiting for hours at a time, with calls for help often ignored or delayed for long periods of time.
Patients suffering from pain were often forced to wait hours simply to be administered painkillers and it was reported that in many instances hungry and thirsty patients had sustenance left out of their reach.
It was also found that patients were discharged before it was safe for them to leave, with some of them passing away shortly afterwards at home.
The report also found that many patients contracted infections during their stay, including C. difficile virus, and many relatives contend that patients died as a result.
A Timeline of Events
November: Julie Bailey sets up the campaign group Cure the NHS after her mother, Bella Bailey, died after a stay of two months at the hospital.
Mrs Bailey had been suffering from breathing difficulties and had a hiatus hernia when she was admitted. The report revealed that she was left without oxygen, something that she needed on a 24-hour basis, thanks to a shortage. On one occasion, she was dropped by nursing staff who were attempting to transfer her back to bed. Julie Bailey has remained active throughout the Mid-Staffs scandal, championing the reports and offering advice to anybody affected by Mid-Staffordshire negligence.
May: After the unusually high death toll at the hospital was noticed by government officials, The Healthcare Commission watchdog began an investigation into the matter.
October: The Healthcare Commission issues an order that Stafford Hospital immediately improve their accident and emergency department. The Mid Staffordshire Trust agrees to employ more doctors and nurses for the department.
February: Stafford Hospital closes five wards thanks to a norovirus vomiting bug.
March: Just a few days before the Health Care Commission report is due to be published, chief executive Martin Yeates and chairman of the Mid Staffordshire Trust resign. It soon transpires that Yeats walked away with a payoff of £400,000 and a pension pot of £1 million.
The Healthcare Commission report is published on the 18th, revealing the appalling standards of care experienced by patients staying in Staffordshire Hospital.
May: The hospital reveals its brand new plan to make improvements. Millions will be invested in new equipment and facilities.
September: New chief executive Anthony Samara says he will close any wards which are not working to a certain standard.
January: NHS executive Kate Levy is suspended after it was found that she requested for a fatal medical accident to not be reported. John Moore-Robinson passed away due to a ruptured spleen shortly after being discharged from the hospital.
June: David Cameron reveals that a public inquiry will be launched to further investigate the failings at Stafford Hospital. He hopes to discover why the alarm was not raised over the high death rates. Media interest in the Mid-Staffordshire scandal rises.
September: Staffordshire County Council promises to help the hospital address a backlog of 200 complaints and have them cleared by 1 December.
November: The Mid Staffordshire Trust agrees to pay more than £1million in compensation to 98 people for the poor care they or their relatives received at the hospital.
October: The Quality Care Commission warns the NHS Trust that its findings have discovered low staffing levels have consistently compromised the safety of patients.
December: It is announced that Stafford Hospital’s A&E department will be closing at night for a total of three months, thanks to staff shortages.
September: Following a financial crisis, Foundation Trust regulator Monitor says that experts will be employed to address monetary issues of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation.
December: The trust has now paid out more than £1 million to patients or relatives of those who experienced degrading treatment at the hospital.
February 2013: The final report is published. You can read it here.