Personal Injury, Serious Injury & Clinical Negligence

Standards Slip as Leading Hospital Trust placed into Special Measures

After being hailed as a ‘Centre of Excellence’, the trust which runs leading hospital, Addenbrookes in Cambridge has been placed into Special Measures. This comes only two years after being given a clean bill of health and illustrates how rapidly things can change even in key centres for healthcare.

Addenbrookes is now once of 26 hospital trusts which have been placed into the NHS Improvement regime and criticism has been levelled at the hospital in particular for its poor safety record and issues with leadership. The hospital trust is presently losing £1.2 m per week and is expected to have a deficit this year of £64 m.

The Trust has been singled out for criticism in the following areas:

  • Staff being asked to cover wards where they are not trained in the medical specialty.
  • In the birth centre in particular there has been poor practice with staff not following nationally prescribed guidelines for monitoring during labour.
  • Elective care being delayed beyond the waiting period of 18 weeks.
  • Routine operations regularly cancelled.

The trust has responded robustly to criticism and notes that the Care Quality Commission’s report singles them out for excellence of care even though it targets concerns over patient safety. They blame bed blocking and the winter crisis of last year as factors coupled with severe financial constraints.

Nevertheless, there have been high profile resignations at the trust including Chief Executive, Keith McNeil and Chief Finance Officer – Paul James. The CQC was particularly critical of long-standing serious problems being ignored.

Addenbrookes are not alone with financial problems underpinning many of the problems in continuing to maintain high standards. Many trusts are caught in a vicious circle with spiralling costs resulting from increased patient demand.

Unfortunately as a result of falling standards mistakes arise and in a medical setting the consequences of an adverse patient safety incident can be profound and life changing.

If you or your family have been affected by poor care, contact a member of our Clinical Negligence Team on 0800 316 8892.