Press

Widow alleges lack of care at Worcester hospital

The widow of a Bromsgrove businessman and former West Bromwich Albion footballer will tell Worcestershire Coroners Court on Tuesday (February 12) of delays, mistakes and a lack of care for her husband before his death on Christmas Eve 2017. The inquest is expected to take two days.

Colin Jones, who died after a brain haemorrhage aged 54, was well-known in Bromsgrove for his flower business, and had played for the club at around the same time as Cyrille Regis. He died in hospital in Coventry, where he had been transferred from Worcester.

Jayne Jones, who witnessed his care both in Worcester and in Coventry, has said in her statement to the court: “No-one listened to us, even when I tried to get help – no-one listened. From what I have seen, the treatment that Colin received at Worcester was unacceptable. Our experience at Coventry was so different.”

She and their three daughters have called on his GP practice, Worcestershire Royal Hospital and the West Midlands Ambulance service to take responsibility for the failings she alleges in their care of Colin, who suffered from a heart condition caused by high blood pressure. He was on long-term blood pressure medication and had been warned his blood pressure must be kept within normal limits, but the family are concerned that it was allowed to remain raised at times. They question the GP practice’s care of Colin.

The inquest will hear that the ambulance trust admit that they should have taken Colin to hospital when they were first called to him on December 23. The second crew, attending the following day, did take him.

Ally Taft, partner and clinical negligence specialist, said: “Even once he reached hospital, the family believe there were delays in Colin being seen and treated, delays in transferring scans to the neurosurgeons at Coventry and delays in transferring him to Coventry. By the time surgery was carried out, it was too late to save him.

“Colin’s family feel that they have been let down by all those involved, except the staff at Coventry, and they want the medical professionals involved to stand up and be counted, so that others don’t have to suffer as he did and as Jayne and his daughters are still suffering.”

Medical Accident Group is dedicated to working for those who have suffered medical negligence or a serious personal injury. Its leading lawyers are amongst the most experienced in the country. They contribute to seminars and education courses on the experiences and after-effects of catastrophic injury and medical accidents, and also regularly host presentations and conferences to inform the medical profession and other solicitors of the effects of negligence and injury.

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Ambulance Delays in Worcestershire branded as ‘unacceptable’

Concerns have been raised about the length of time ambulances are queuing at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

MP Rachel McLean has addressed a letter to the Minister for Health and Social Care, Stephen Hammond, about the “unacceptable” conditions at Worcestershire’s hospitals.

Recent statistics have shown that 28% of the ambulances that arrived at hospitals in Worcester, Kidderminster and Redditch during December, were ‘stuck’ outside for over 30 minutes.

In March 2018, ambulance delays in Worcestershire were labelled ‘catastrophic’. During the first 16 days of February 2018, 215 ambulances spent more than one hour outside the hospital and ten ambulances had waited more than three hours to take patients inside.

Inez Brown, Partner and Head of Clinical Negligence from Medical Accident Group commented: “It is concerning that ambulance queuing times in Worcester are still being branded as unacceptable. Patients’ lives are continuously being put at risk and this can have a significant impact on the standard of care being provided.”

As a highly experienced firm with expert teams based in Birmingham and Worcester, we have secured awards for many clients following negligent medical treatment. If you or a member of your family have suffered from poor medical treatment, Medical Accident Group can help.

Our team of specialist medical negligence solicitors have over 30 years’ experience. We will guide you through the process of making a claim.
If you believe you have a claim, call the team now on 0800 050 1668.

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A woman has died after having all her teeth removed

Rachel Johnston was a 49 year old woman who suffered brain damage after contracting meningitis as a baby.

On 26 October 2018, Ms Johnston underwent surgery at Kidderminster Hospital for a “full dental clearance”, where all her teeth were removed due to severe tooth decay and a lifetime of dental problems.

Her mother, Mrs Johnston, asked whether a few teeth could be taken out at a time but was told the hospital “only wanted to put her under general anaesthetic once”.

During the operation, Ms Johnston’s temperature dropped, however, during recovery, she was described as being in “high spirits” and was discharged four hours later.

The following day, Mrs Johnston received a phone call from the care home staff where Ms Johnston resided, to say that Ms Johnston was very unwell. Ms Johnston was bleeding, her “tongue had swollen” and she was described as “just lying there…like there was no life.”

The following day, Ms Johnston was rushed into hospital with breathing difficulties. She was put on a life support machine but her family was eventually told that there was nothing more the doctors could do. Ms Johnston died on 13 November 2018, 10 days after the life support machine was turned off.

A coroner and three clinical commissioning groups are investigating Ms Johnston’s death.  Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust has insisted it followed the correct procedures for vulnerable patients.

Sarah Coleman, from Mencap has stated that “there should never be a situation where such extreme treatment comes as surprise”. Sarah also stated that “more must be done to ensure people with a learning disability can access good quality dental care as soon as they need it, before we reach the point where multiple teeth need to be extracted.”

Campaigners have stated they are frequently told of poor communication between disabled patients and their families. It has also been suggested that dentists should intervene earlier to avoid such “drastic” full extractions.

Fahmidah Ali, Solicitor and Dental Negligence Specialist, said,

“I am saddened that there still appears to be communication barriers between dentists, patients and their families where any form of disability is concerned. All patients should receive the same quality of care and level of service from the NHS and more should be done to avoid such drastic treatment. I would be interested to talk to anybody who feels they have been a victim of inadequate dental treatment.”

As a highly experienced firm with expert teams based in Birmingham and Worcester, we have secured awards for many clients following negligent medical treatment. If you or a member of your family have suffered from poor medical treatment, Medical Accident Group can help. Our team of specialist medical negligence solicitors have over 30 years’ experience. We will guide you through the process of making a claim. If you believe you have a claim, call the team now on 0800 050 1668.

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London lung cancer screening trial to be rolled out by NHS if successful

At present, the only screenings offered are for breast, bowel and cervical cancer, despite lung cancer being the most common cause of cancer-related deaths. 35,000 people die every year in the UK due to lung cancer and approximately 75% of patients are diagnosed at stages 3 or 4 – the later stages, by which point treatment is less effective. When lung cancer is picked up at stages 1 or 2, 70% of people survive for a least one year.

The University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) and University College London will carry out a study, known as the SUMMIT study, in an attempt to improve the number of early cancer diagnoses by bringing together healthcare organisations across the north and east of London. The study will begin in early 2019 and aims to detect lung cancer by developing a new blood test for the early detection of several types of cancer, not just lung cancer. The findings should enable a national lung cancer screening programme, beginning in London.

Sam Janes, Professor of Respiratory Medicine at UCLH has reported that “it is a huge screening study, the biggest in Europe, looking at how we can deliver it to a very large population in a city, really defining how the NHS will do this in the future. We hope we can demonstrate that it is achievable and affordable within the NHS.”

Ally Taft, a Partner at the Medical Accident Group, says, “Unfortunately, I see all too often cases where people have fallen victim to a delay in diagnosis of their cancer. If left too late, some cancers can be untreatable so the sooner the cancer is picked up, the better your chances of survival. I think it is a brilliant plan to screen for as many types of cancer as possible, so this new trial can only be a good thing and it would be great to see it rolled out across the rest of the country.”

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Fatal heart conditions going undetected due to lack of scanning services

Cardiac imaging experts have warned that deadly heart conditions are being missed as patients are unable to get computed tomography (CT) tests due to a shortage of scanners and radiologists.

It has been reported that at least 56,000 angina patients across the UK missed out on life-saving heart scans last year. New figures estimate tens of thousands of chest pain sufferers were given basic exercise tests last year, instead of recommended computed tomography heart scans to detect or rule out heart disease.

Historically, patients with chest pain are referred to rapid access chest pain clinics to have their heart function assessed by exercise tests despite Cardiac experts arguing that exercise tests are not accurate enough.  Experts say that the tests do not rule out underlying causes of angina, such as the plaque that causes fatal heart attacks.

The time that a patient will wait to have a scan will vary depending on where they live. Provisions vary across the UK, with Scotland and Wales doing fewer than 30 per cent of the minimum number of scans.

In 2016 the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) supported the experts by stating that all patients with angina-type symptoms should receive a particular type of heart scan – a computed tomography coronary angiography (CTCA).   Although the NICE guidelines are aimed at English hospitals, experts at the BSCI and the RCR believe everyone with angina should have a CTCA, regardless of where they live.

Radiologists want to see more investment in cardiac imaging expertise and state-of-the-art CT scanners to ensure all chest pain patients get a potentially life-saving CTCA scan.

Dr Giles Roditi, President of the BSCI, said:

“CTCA scans are incredibly good at detecting and ruling out heart disease, almost perfect. It is beyond frustrating that we do not have the capacity to provide what should be a routine frontline test for everyone presenting with chest pain.”

Dr Nicola Strickland, President of the RCR, added:

“It is remarkably sad that the CTCA technology exists to diagnose life-threatening heart disease before it kills people, but patients are being denied access because the UK Government and devolved administrations are failing to invest in training the radiologist doctors needed to report these scans, as well as the state-of-the-art CT scanners needed to perform them.”

Charlotte Measures, Senior Associate at Medical Accident Group said “I would be interested to talk to anybody that has been affected by the delay and/or failure of the NHS performing a potentially lifesaving CT scan.” 

As an experienced national firm, we have managed to successfully claim compensation for families, who have directly and indirectly suffered injury and loss due to the negligent actions of NHS Trusts all over the UK.  If you have suffered from poor treatment, Medical Accident Group can help.  We have a team of dedicated clinical negligence solicitors, with over 30 years’ experience, who will guide you through the process of making a claim.  If you believe you have a claim, call the team now on 0800 050 1668 or email us at info@medicalaccidentgroup.co.uk.

 

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People with type 1 diabetes ‘missing out on life-changing glucose monitors’

An investigation by the BMJ has revealed that tens of thousands of UK patients with type 1 diabetes are being denied the potential benefits of “flash” glucose monitoring devices because they are not being recommended in some areas.  The BMJ found a quarter of local NHS groups in England did not recommend them for patients. Some clinical commissioning groups have made the devices available to hundreds of patients, others have not made them available to anyone.  Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre is currently the only such device available in the UK.

Partha Kar, NHS England‘s associate national clinical director for diabetes, estimates that just 3-5% of patients with type 1 diabetes in England are currently able to get the monitors on the NHS.  If CCGs were following NHS England guidance correctly, this figure should be closer to 20-25%, if not higher.  He said that some CCGs were merely paying “lip service” to offering the monitors.

Nikki Joule, from Diabetes UK, said patients were facing an “unfair postcode lottery”.  She added the charity wanted to see all areas agree on policies for accessing the monitors.

It has also been reported that some diabetes sufferers were considering moving to a different GP practice a few miles down the road to get the monitor, while others were making “huge sacrifices” to pay for it themselves.

Julie Wood, chief executive of NHS Clinical Commissioners, which represents CCGs, said: “Clinical commissioners have a responsibility to consider the needs of their whole populations, reduce inequalities, and improve quality of care while living within the funding they are given and it is right that they should follow a due process when considering new medicines and technologies to ensure they are making the most effective use of the limited NHS pound.”

Charlotte Measures, Senior Associate at Medical Accident Group said “I am saddened that in this day in age patients across the UK do not receive the same level of service from the NHS.  I would be interested to talk to any diabetes sufferers that believe that they have been a victim of the ‘post code lottery’.” 

As an experienced national firm, we have managed to successfully claim compensation for families, who have directly and indirectly suffered injury and loss due to the negligent actions of NHS Trusts all over the UK.  If you have suffered from poor treatment, Medical Accident Group can help.  We have a team of dedicated clinical negligence solicitors, with over 30 years’ experience, who will guide you through the process of making a claim.  If you believe you have a claim, call the team now on 0800 050 1668 or email us at info@medicalaccidentgroup.co.uk.

 

 

 

 

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Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust investigated over baby deaths has a “culture of bullying and harassment”

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust (SaTH) has today been rated ‘inadequate’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The trust was last inspected in December 2016 and had already received an overall rating of ‘requires improvement’ for safety, responsiveness and leadership. The two hospitals under the trust’s control have had their emergency and maternity units declared as unsafe.

Following this inspection, the CQC has taken action to protect members of the public using SaTH’s urgent and emergency services and maternity services by placing conditions on the trust’s registration. Professor Ted Baker, Chief Inspector of Hospitals at the Care Quality Commission, said:

“We will continue to work with NHS Improvement with regard to the trust. This trust must take action to ensure it makes all improvements necessary to give patients the standard of safe care they should be able to expect. We will return to check on progress with those improvements.”

CQC Report

The report identifies a total of 81 issues at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital with the trust having to:

  • Ensure sufficient and suitably qualified and trained staff are available to care for and protect people from the risk of harm;
  • Review and improve midwifery staffing levels to meet the needs of women and keep women and babies safe;
  • Review the processes around escalating women who are at high risk so that women who present at the midwifery led unit or day assessment unit receive a medical review without delay; and
  • Review its policy on reduced foetal movements so there is a clear and defined pathway for midwives and sonographers to follow.

This increased level of scrutiny comes after it was reported last year that SaTH was being investigated for failures in its maternity care. 215 families are thought to have raised concerns about the level of care provided.

Commenting on staffing at the trust it was found that “a culture of defensiveness exists from the executive team” with low morale and high levels of stress amongst staff. A temporary midwifery unit at Shrewsbury was deemed unfit for purpose having been opened due to snow damaging the original building in December 2017.

What our specialists have to say

Inez Brown, Partner and Head of Clinical Negligence from Medical Accident Group said:

“This 112 page report offers a damning assessment of the persistent failures at this trust. The initial review into baby deaths started at 23 and the scope of the review has been widened four times to a total of 215 complaints. Whilst it is difficult to comment on this ongoing investigation, today’s report highlights failures at the trust which may have resulted in negligent treatment at its two hospitals. Better training and increased levels of scrutiny are required to give members of the public confidence that these services are in fact safe to use.”

As a highly experienced firm with expert teams based in Birmingham and Worcester, we have secured awards for many clients following negligent medical treatment. If you or a member of your family have suffered from poor medical treatment, Medical Accident Group can help. Our team of specialist medical negligence solicitors have over 30 years’ experience. We will guide you through the process of making a claim. If you believe you have a claim, call the team now on 0800 050 1668.

 

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Health Foundation likens cancer care in England to a “jumbo jet of people falling from the sky every two weeks”

Background

The Health Foundation has published a report on the government’s provision of cancer services in England since 1995. The report states that if services were improved approximately 10,000 lives could be saved each year.

In comparing the UK to cancer care services provided in Australia, Denmark, Norway, Canada and Sweden it was found that five year survival rates in the UK were much poorer. The comparison was done for six cancers including colon, breast, rectum, lung, ovarian and prostate. For every cancer the UK has stayed in the bottom two since 2000. For example, the UK has a 60% five year survival rate for colon cancer whereas Australia shows an improved percentage of 70%.

The Problem

In September we reported that waiting times for cancer treatment were at their ‘worst ever level’. The Health Foundation has now highlighted the lack of equipment, delays in referrals/ diagnosis and the lack of investment as key reasons for the reduced level of improvement. In addition, the number of people being diagnosed with cancer at an early stage remained static during 2015-2017.

Solution

In order to close the gap with the top countries the Health Foundation suggests radical improvements in the early diagnosis and detection of cancer. Investment is required in increasing diagnostic equipment and workforce. This is illustrated by an OECD Health Statistics Report of 2017 which claims the UK has less than 10 million MRI units (per million population) whereas countries such as Japan have well over 50 million MRI units (per million population).

Recent announcements in investment for cancer treatment equipment are welcomed but the UK has fallen behind other countries in the availability of diagnostic equipment per person, ranking 35th out of 37 countries for CT scanners.

What our specialists have to say

Inez Brown, Partner and Head of Clinical Negligence from Medical Accident Group said:

“This Report provides statistical support to the problems we have had in cancer treatment over the past 20 years. The delays in referring patients is not acceptable and can sometimes be negligent. An earlier referral and better cancer care will increase the number of lives we could and should be saving.”

As a highly experienced firm with expert teams based in Birmingham and Worcester, we have secured awards for many clients following negligent medical treatment. If you or a member of your family have suffered from poor medical treatment, Medical Accident Group can help. Our team of specialist medical negligence solicitors have over 30 years’ experience. We will guide you through the process of making a claim. If you believe you have a claim, call the team now on 0800 050 1668.

 

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Clinical negligence lawyers take top spot

Ranking among the best in the UK, lawyers at Medical Accident Group, which has Birmingham and Worcester offices, have been acknowledged as leaders in their field by two leading legal directories, being rated as ‘a force to be reckoned with on clinical negligence cases.’

Both Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners directories select Inez Brown as a leading practitioner in clinical negligence matters, with specialisms in birth injury and surgical error issues – she is said to be ‘hugely hard-working, demonstrates massive attention to detail and won’t leave a stone unturned.’ Fellow partner Ally Taft is also recommended as being’ extremely knowledgeable, very experienced and has good judgement.’

Charlotte Measures, who is noted as one to watch for the future, often represents clients in delayed diagnosis and birth injury claims – she is said to be a ‘strong practitioner who can move a complex case forward in the height of adversity and is undeterred by difficult opponents.’ Peter Savage is mentioned for his extensive experience in cases involving children.

Inez said: “I’m delighted that the team has been recognised in this way – accolades like this are a tribute to the dedication and focus we all bring to our work. We work with people who have often suffered a great deal, and we are all driven to help them both to find the answers they seek and also to make sure that they can have the best quality of life possible.”

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Darnley v Croydon Health Services NHS Trust [2018]: Hospital found negligent after providing misleading information on A&E waiting time

Background

The Supreme Court has handed down the landmark decision of Darnley v Croydon Health Services NHS Trust. The Court reviewed whether it was fair, just and reasonable to impose a duty of care on the receptionist in A&E.

Mr Darnley’s claim was dismissed in the High Court in 2015 and the decision was upheld in the Court of Appeal by a 2:1 majority in 2017. The Supreme Court has overturned the decision of the Court of Appeal, ruling in favour of Mr Darnley.

The Facts

The Claimant, Mr Darnley, attended A&E at the Croydon University Hospital, formerly Mayday Hospital, in 2010 having suffered a head injury during an assault. A receptionist (not clinically trained) at the hospital advised Mr Darnley that he might have to wait up to five hours or treatment. After waiting for approximately 19 minutes he discharged himself and left for his mother’s house.

The information provided by the reception staff was inaccurate as the actual system in place at the Hospital’s A&E department stated that a triage nurse would examine a patient within 30 minutes of arrival. Shortly after Mr Darnley had left the triage nurse had arrived.

After Mr Darnley arrived home his condition deteriorated rapidly and he returned to the hospital by ambulance. A CT scan was carried out and it was found that an extradural haematoma was present. Mr Darnley was transferred to St George’s Hospital where he was operated on.

The Trial at First Instance and the Court of Appeal

At trial Mr Darnley claimed that he would have expected “a receptionist to tell a head injury patient that he will be triaged within 30 minutes…Had the Claimant been told this he would have stayed and would not have suffered the damage which was in fact sustained.”.

The Defendant argued “The imposition of such a duty would be unreasonable and…would make being an NHS receptionist impossible.”. The Trust further argued the act of Mr Darnley leaving was an independent act which broke the chain of causation.

Referencing the case of Caparo Industries PLC v Dickman & Others (1990), the question was whether or not it was fair, just and reasonable to impose a duty of care on the non-clinically trained receptionist. The High Court rejected the Claimant’s arguments and found in favour of the Trust. This was upheld by the Court of Appeal who found “reception staff in the A&E department…were there to perform a clerical function…. Giving information about waiting times was not part of their function.”.

Supreme Court Judgment

In overturning the Court of Appeal’s judgment the Supreme Court held that a duty of care was owed by those who provide and run a casualty department to members of the public present complaining of illness or injury. This duty extended to not providing misleading information about waiting times which may have foreseeably caused injury to Mr Darnley. This duty remained regardless of the fact a non-medically trained receptionist provided the information instead of a doctor or some other medically trained professional.

The Court found that the Court of Appeal had not taken into account the misleading information and thus the chain of causation remained.

What our specialists have to say

Inez Brown, Partner from Medical Accident Group said: “Over 450,000 people attend A&E in England every week. Whilst this decision has an enormous impact on untrained staff it will allow measures to be put in place by NHS Trusts to help staff provide accurate information about waiting times upon arrival at an A&E department. Had accurate information been provided to Mr Darnley he may not have suffered life changing injuries.” 

As a highly experienced firm with expert teams based in Birmingham and Worcester, we have secured awards for many clients following negligent medical treatment. If you or a member of your family have suffered from poor medical treatment, Medical Accident Group can help. Our team of specialist medical negligence solicitors have over 30 years’ experience. We will guide you through the process of making a claim. If you believe you have a claim, call the team now on 0800 050 1668.

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