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Hospitals

U.K. hospital caused "unimaginable suffering" neglecting patients

Wednesday, June 23, 2010 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: hospitals, neglect, health news


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(NaturalNews) A British hospital trust responsible for killing at least 400 people through neglect also subjected its patients to "unimaginable" suffering, an independent inquiry has concluded.

The Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust was blasted by government regulators last year for causing between 400 and 1,200 deaths from shoddy care between 2006 and 2008. According to both government investigators and the new report, staffing shortages and an overemphasis on meeting national targets led to neglect of patients, which included leaving them unwashed for weeks, without food or water and unable to go to the bathroom. In some cases, the inquiry found, relatives had to take hospital sheets home to wash them, and in other cases, neglect allowed patients to suffer fatal infections or falls.

According to Health Secretary Andy Burnham, there can be "no excuses" for the conditions at Mid Staffordshire, and the hospital's entire board has been replaced. Yet many of those replaced have simply moved on to other positions, some with hefty financial rewards. This has renewed calls for increased accountability of executives at failing hospitals. Critics point out that Martin Yeates, a former chief executive of Mid Staffordshire, received steady raises until his salary hit 180,000 ($270,000) per year, even as patients were dying of neglect in his hospital.

The inquiry issued 18 recommendations for reform of the trust oversight system and the overall health service, which have been accepted by the British government. But many family members of those who died at Mid Staffordshire have blasted the inquiry as a "whitewash" that focuses on the misdeeds of management at one hospital while failing to examine the role played by government policies that prioritize abstract targets over patient care.

"It is time that the public were told the truth about the very large number of excess deaths in NHS care and the very large number of avoidable but deadly errors that occur every day," said Julie Bailey of Cure the NHS, whose mother died at Mid Staffordshire.

Sources for this story include: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_st....

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