Avoidable death claims to be probed

Published: Saturday 18th October 2014 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

The health service watchdog is examining more than 250 complaints about potentially avoidable deaths and many more about cases where patients may have suffered needless harm.

Dame Julie Mellor, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, said in some of the cases there had been no investigation by NHS authorities.

She said the watchdog’s casework had shown up a “wide variation in the quality of NHS investigations” into serious cases.

The inquiry’s initial findings will be published next year, and Dame Julie said it would make recommendations for “system-wide change to the leadership and delivery of patient safety”.

She said that in other industries investigations into error were aimed at finding out why mistakes happened, rather than to determine blame, and led to the design of services based on eliminating errors.

Dame Julie said : ” When public services fail, it can have serious effects on us as individuals. We know that when people complain, they often want three simple things: an explanation of what went wrong, an apology and for the mistake not to be repeated.

“We know in other industries like aviation and construction when things go wrong they investigate to find the root cause, not to determine blame. They design and deliver services based on reducing or eliminating mistakes.

“Our casework indicates that there is a wide variation in the quality of NHS investigations into serious cases such as complaints about potential avoidable harm. These include failure to explain fully what happened and why, inadequate involvement of the complainant and a lack of independent clinical input.

“That’s why we will examine our casework, including more than 250 cases of potential avoidable deaths.

“We will analyse whether an investigation would have been appropriate but did not take place or when an investigation took place but was not of a high enough standard.

“We will work with experts across health and other sectors to gather evidence of best practice and areas of improvements and will make recommendations for system wide change to the leadership and delivery of patient safety. We will publish our initial findings early next year.”

Published: Saturday 18th October 2014 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

Local business search