Further Failures in the NHS

I found it so disappointing to read that The Hereford Hospital NHS Trust and also The University Hospital of Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, both of which are local to us here in Shropshire, have been included in the list of failing hospitals published in The Observer newspaper over the weekend.  This is despite the fact that last month the Care Quality Commission, the health service regulator, judged overall care to be good or excellent.

Systemic failures in large parts of the NHS during the last financial year include:

•    39% of trusts failing to investigate unexpected deaths or cases of serious harm on their wards.
•    At least 209 incidents in which "foreign objects", such as swabs and drill-bits, were left inside patients after surgery.
•    At least 82 cases in which medical staff operated on the wrong part of the patient's body

It was also reported in the Daily Telegraph that The Colchester Hospital Trust had a mortality rate 12 percent higher than the national average, meaning 12 people in every hundred deaths, die unnecessarily.  Colchester was also found to have a lack of training in child protection and basic life support.

Colchester is the third failing foundation trust this year, following Mid Staffordshire where it was reported that up to 1,200 patients may have died as a result of poor care and Basildon, where numerous major problems have been identified.

I thought the purpose of having foundation trusts was to free performing Trusts from the control of Whitehall; to allow Hospital Managers to choose how they spend money, and to make decisions that are based on the needs of the local community.

The government want all NHS Trusts to have foundation status within the next five years.  So far, 114 hospitals across the UK have foundation status, but there now seems to be complete breakdown in how many of them are being managed.  This begs the question of what exactly has been going on in the foundation trust hospital system, and just how has the tax payers money been spent since 2004, when the foundation trusts first started?