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Legal action launched for 17 families over allegations of poor care at special measures Trust

Leigh Day is representing 17 families and patients in a case about poor care standards

17 June 2015

Law firm Leigh Day has announced that they are taking legal action on behalf of 17 separate families and patients against an NHS trust in special measures following allegations of poor care.

The case against Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust is based on a number of claims of poor care between 2007 and 2013.

After a damning report into the Trust by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in December 2013 a new chief executive was appointed in April 2014.
 
According to Emma Jones, the lawyer leading the cases, it is unusual for the cases to be grouped together and for the claims to rest on the systemic failures and individual failure claimed in the specific cases.
 
The allegations include 13 cases involving poor provision of nutrition and fluids, eight cases of patient falls, five incidents of problems with pain management and pain relief and three cases of poor bowel management.
 
Three cases include allegations of a failure to protect against infection; two involve problems administering medication; and two include pressure sore management.
 
In a letter before claim lodged at the High Court, Leigh Day allege that the claims collectively show the trust’s “failure to take reasonable care to ensure that there was a safe system of healthcare provided at [Queen’s Hospital]”.
 
The documents claim that these systemic failures include a failure to provide sufficient numbers of suitably trained nursing staff and failure to supervise those staff and to ensure adequate records.
 
Emma Jones, a solicitor at Leigh Day, said:
 
“These are fundamental issues relating to the care of patients. This includes making sure there are enough staff to care for patients that those staff are competent and are completing documents and records; and that the trusts have systems in place to make sure people are given enough to eat and drink.
 
“We felt it was imperative to do something to try to ensure these issues were taken seriously. And a group action was the way we thought we might be able to do it.
 
“The allegations we set out go beyond the Health and Social Care Act 2008.  We alleged that safe systems were not in place at the Trust from around 2007.  Surely patient safety must be at the top of the agenda for all Trusts at all time, not just an issue that is considered when regulations come into force.
 
“For some of our clients, who are the relatives of patients we allege suffered poor treatment and care, it was simply too painful to complain at the time.
 
“We are pleased to note that the Trust is now investing in recruitment of nurses.”

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