Alarm over King’s Mill Hospital death rate

NMAC11-1277-5''Kings Mill Hospital
NMAC11-1277-5''Kings Mill Hospital

A HEALTH watchdog has raised concerns over high patient mortality rates at the troubled trust which runs King’s Mill Hospital.

The worrying death rates of patients dying from septicaemia came to light during a meeting of the board of directors at the under-fire Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust last week.

During the meeting, directors said that an important contributor to the Trust’s high ‘hospital standardised mortality ratio’ is the increased number of deaths from blood poisoning.

A full case review of 100 consecutive deaths from sepsis is now being carried out and an action plan has been developed by the new Surviving Sepsis Group, based at King’s Mill Hospital, to improve surivival rates.

The report on the issue, read out during the board meeting, read ‘we have identified that the treatment of these patients is deficient.

“An audit has confirmed that we do not identify these patients early enough and that there are significant delays in applying the Sepsis Care Bundle and in particular delays in the administration of antibiotics’.

Mansfield MP Alan Meale said: “It’s shocking really,” he said.“There’s got to be rapid action to turn it round because it is totally unacceptable.”

Sir Alan said that, though the new management of the hospital were trying to sort out the Trust’s problems, it is ‘just one thing after another’.

Other problems at the troubled Trust also came to light at last week’s meeting, including that a complaint about the care and treatment a patient received there has been upheld by the Health Ombudsman. The ombudsman’s findings are that the clinical care provided by the Trust and the communication between the clinicians and the family ‘amounted to service failure’.

The Trust has been told to give the family a full and frank apology in writing, pay £7,500 compensation ‘in recognition of the injustice caused’ and draw up an action plan.

It was also revealed that in December there was a spike of serious incidents reported at the Trust, with a year high of 15.

These included four falls, five Grade 3 pressure ulcers and one Grade 4 pressure ulcer - the most serious classification of a pressure ulcer.

Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero described the developments as ‘deeply concerning’, saying: “It has been well documented that the trust has problems financially, but when you go into hospital, the very least you expect is to be looked after and treated with the upmost care and compassion.

“If this hasn’t happened in some cases then health bosses should be examining this as matter of urgency.”

The Trust failed to answer the questions posed by the Chad about the septicaemia problem, but said that when the CQC contacted them, they were already aware of it.

Dr Nabeel Ali, executive medical director, said: “When we became aware of a problem in our treatment of patients with septicaemia we carried out detailed work to identify areas where the treatment of these patients could be improved, and we have taken early action.

“One important aspect of this action is the launch of sepsis boxes. In addition, all of our doctors and nurses involved in the management of acutely ill adult patients are being given specific training in the recognition and management of patients with sepsis.”

Susan Bowler, executive director of nursing and quality, said that it would be ‘inappropriate’ to comment on the ombudsman’s findings but they would ‘accept and be fully compliant with the recommendations’.