Lack of medical staff contributing to avoidable deaths

Every year, upwards of 27,000 patients die in the UK’s hospitals that need not have done. The results of a recent study show that shortages of medical staff are to blame for treatable complications being allowed to kill patients.

The statistics contained in a report from the University of Southampton and Imperial College London should cause real concern for hospital managers across the country. Where hospitals suffered from a lack of doctors, patients chances of survival were 9% lower than in fully staffed hospitals. In hospitals lacking nurses, the likelihood of patients dying was 8% greater.

In light of the findings, the University of Southampton’s Professor Griffiths stressed the need to keep clinical staff numbers high in order to prevent treatable complications such as blood clots and pneumonia from killing patients.

70 million patients were included in the data set which included cases between 1997 and 2009. Clearly alarmed by the findings, the Health Department announced that an extra £12.5bn would be set aside for attempting to attempt to bring down mortality rates but with such severe cuts to public services over the last two years it appears unlikely that this will be achievable. The likely result is that we’ll see a lot more medical negligence claims made by relatives of patients who have died unnecessarily .

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