JMW's cases against Pennine Acute Hospital Trust show impact of top level failures

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JMW's cases against Pennine Acute Hospital Trust show impact of top level failures

As one of the specialist medical negligence solicitors at JMW handling almost 30 cases of alleged patient safety failures at the Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust I was shocked but not altogether surprised at recent negative publicity the trust has received.

On Monday the Manchester Evening News revealed a dossier of failings by the trust which is responsible for North Manchester General, Fairfield, Rochdale and Royal Oldham hospitals. According to the article, a report from the Care Quality Commission expected this week will rate the trust, one of the largest of its kind, as inadequate.

The cases JMW is handling against the trust show a wide range of care issues, from basic failures in emergency care for young children to delays in diagnosis that have led to deaths. Many of the cases paint a picture of chaotic care where NHS policies were not followed and families who knew there was a risk of something very serious happening were fobbed off. A lack of leadership and poor availability of senior doctors is clearly a problem in our cases and addressing this must be a priority if the safety of patients on even the most basic level is to be protected.

The poor care and mistakes we have experience of at the patient level are certainly serious and worrying and show the human cost hospital failures have. However with the publishing of the MEN investigation, for the first time the truth about how far reaching the issues at the trust are has become apparent. Those at the helm have completely failed to ensure it is fit for purpose and able to cope with the demands of patient care and safety.

The issues reported by the MEN are:

  • Staffing crisis at North Manchester General's A&E, now so severe that ambulances are set to be diverted elsewhere at night
  • Third of children's beds are shut after inspectors warned of unsafe nursing levels
  • Failings in maternity services
  • Serious long-term failures in leadership and management
  • Dedicated staff's morale at rock-bottom with claims of bullying, overwork and evidence of a blame culture
  • Serious incidents going unreported because staff fear nothing will be done

Following the inspection by the CQC in March this year, experienced NHS leaders have been drafted in to tackle the spiralling situation. However what local people who rely on the trust's hospitals need are results and fast. It is encouraging that action is being taken and now the issues are in the public domain hopefully the pressure will be kept on until they are resolved.

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