East Sussex hospital pays compensation for ‘failings’

Eastbourne DGH District General Hospital . January 3rd 2013 E01011Q
Eastbourne DGH District General Hospital . January 3rd 2013 E01011Q

A hospital has apologised over ‘failings’ after a daughter became distressed about her mother’s care.

The mother had fallen over at home and was admitted to hospital for two and a half months – but during her admission she experienced signs of a suspected stroke, followed by a confirmed stroke four days later.

On Thursday her care at East Sussex Healthcare Trust was highlighted in a Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman report.

Investigators intervened when a daughter who complained to the Ombudsman about her mother’s care criticised communication between staff, monitoring, stroke prevention and care, diabetes management, pressure area care, the timing of her mother’s operation and prescription of a blood thinning medication. She also complained about the trust’s response to her complaint.

For confidentiality reasons, the mother and daughter are referred to only as ‘Mrs R’ and ‘Mrs N’ in the report.

The ombudsman said it ‘partially upheld the complaint’.

A report said: “There were shortcomings in record keeping, aspects of the trust’s communication with Mrs N, the lack of medical review after suspected stroke symptoms, adherence to the guidance in relation to the administration of medication to manage stroke and diabetes, and the trust’s investigation of Mrs N’s complaint.

“The failings identified did not affect Mrs R’s outcome, but did add to Mrs N’s distress.”

The trust apologised to Mrs N for its failings and paid her £400 compensation.

The other complaints were not upheld.

The report said the trust prepared plans to demonstrate how the learning from her and Mrs R’s experience could make sure ‘poor service’ is not repeated.

Alice Webster, director of nursing, said, “We have apologised to the family and accepted the recommendations of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO).

“The PHSO recognised that our action plan had demonstrated we had learnt from this family’s experience and were taking steps to prevent a similar recurrence.

The trust encourages people to provide feedback on any aspect of our service and takes all concerns raised by patients, carers and visitors seriously.

“We welcome the opportunity this feedback and the work of the PHSO provides for us to learn from the experience of patients and improve the service we offer.”

In the last two years two per cent of complaints about services at the trust have been formally investigated by the ombudsman with a third being upheld or partially upheld.

Ms Webster added, “Whenever and however a concern is raised we work with the patient and their family to investigate the issues. We apologise when things go wrong and take action to improve our services.”

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