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NHS buildings sicker than patients?

View profile for Judith Thomas-Whittingham
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With buildings that are sicker than the patients being admitted, how can NHS medics provide their patients with a suitable standard of care?
According to a recent investigation by the Department of Health a fifth of all NHS buildings failed to meet department standards. A wing at Great Ormond Street Hospital was stated to be so small that doctors were struggling to fit the essential life saving equipment into the rooms and it was discovered that at the Royal National Orthopaedic Centre in Middlesex post surgery patients had to be winched up the corridor due to the steep incline!
Of the many hospitals surveyed, thirty three were stated to be in a substandard condition. With buildings that are sub standard how can NHS medics be expected to provide treatment in accordance with a reasonable standard?
You would think that this substandard state could only apply to smaller, lesser known hospitals, however this is unfortunately not the case. Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children’s Hospital was listed as being amongst the thirty three.
Many of the thirty three hospitals had wards and buildings dating back to 1735, over two hundred years before the NHS was set up.
A spokesperson for the Healthcare Facilities Consortium, which is responsible for NHS staff, has commented that both patients and Doctors have been injured as a result of the dangerous conditions within NHS buildings and that it is inevitable that medics are struggling to provide the appropriate standards of treatment when they are having to deal with substandard facilities.
The Department of Health have commented that improvements must be made, however, in a time when the NHS are facing the biggest ever cutbacks in funding it seems unlikely to me that improvements to their ageing, sub standard buildings will be at the top of their priorities list.
At Stephensons our growing clinical negligence team deals with cases of medical negligence in all fields. In light of the above it seems no surprise that constant mistakes are being made by NHS medics.
If you believe the treatment you have received is also below a reasonable standard then we have a dedicated team of clinical negligence solicitors who would be happy to advise you further. Call us for free initial advice on 01616 966 229.
By clinical negligence specialist, Jenny Hornby