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Hospitals failing to comply with safety warnings

View profile for Judith Thomas-Whittingham
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A report published yesterday by Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) has shown that hospitals are putting patients’ lives in danger by failing to comply with patient safety alerts issued by the National Patient Safety Agency.
The alerts are supposed to ensure that hospitals are taking the correct precautions by bringing common problems which have injured and even killed patients to their attention. The alerts contain actions which hospitals must comply with by a specified date so that these unnecessary deaths can be prevented.
However, the report indicates that 45 trusts had not complied with 5 or more alerts and 5 trusts had not complied with 10 or more alerts. A failure to comply with these safety alerts has detrimental effects which can easily be prevented.
In February 2008, Mr David Gray died after he received an overdose of Diamorphine from an out of hours GP from Europe. His death could have been prevented if the relevant safety alert had been implemented. AvMA has since been working towards promoting the safe use of the drug and the regulation of foreign doctors and out of hours medical care.
AvMA has seen some improvement since its last report about six months ago, with 50% of trusts complying with all alerts. However, the Chief Executive of AvMA, Peter Walsh, stated that "there is no room for complacency and we need to see the regulators doing much more to ensure full compliance."  
It therefore makes a number of recommendations to ensure that compliance with the patient safety alerts is more widespread to minimise any risks in the future. One of their suggestions is that the Care Quality Commission should take a more active role in ensuring compliance with the safety alerts, especially with the trusts which are falling behind.
If you believe that you have received treatment which was below a reasonable standard and would like to make a claim, we have a dedicated team of clinical negligence solicitors who would be happy to help you. You can call us for initial advice now on 01616 966 229.
By clinical negligence specialist, Laura Hannah