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Coroners issue record number of hospital recommendations

View profile for Judith Thomas-Whittingham
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A Ministry of Justice report has revealed that coroners have issued a record number of recommendations to hospitals, in order to prevent future patient deaths. 

The Ministry of Justice published a report last week which collates recommendations made by coroners at the end of an inquest to any organisation. 

The report identified the areas of concern to be ‘over policies and practices in relation to note taking, staffing, training, communication and handover and the recording of medications’.

For the period between October 2011 and March 2012, 233 reports were made, 25 of them were made in the Manchester region. 

‘This was the highest number of reports issued in any six-month period since MoJ began reporting in July 2008’, the report noted.

Following 10 deaths, coroners warned NHS trusts they risked having dangerously low staffing levels, particularly at evenings, weekends and public holidays.

In addition, 23 reports told hospitals they must record patients’ medical details better and that staff need to improve communication to avoid preventable deaths.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said: "Patients should be able to access expert services seven days a week and they have a right to expect the same level of care on a Saturday or Sunday as they do on a Wednesday.

“Not only would this mean better, safer and more consistent care and treatment, it will also mean better support for junior doctors. We are taking action and working with professional associations to drive this forward across the NHS”.

By Charlotte Goonan

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