Maidstone Hospital – more negligence and poor performance

Maidstone Hospital – medical errors and lack of improvement – the latest update

Since this blog was originally written back in 2014, the position at Maidstone Hospital doesn’t seem to have improved.

The latest review was made by the Care Quality Commission report on the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust which runs a number of other services including The Tunbridge Wells Hospital at Pembury. The overall conclusion was that the trust still “requires improvement”.

In describing how the trust was run, as you will see below, only the level of care was described as good. All the others either required improvement and its particular damning that the leadership was described as frankly “inadequate”. In particular the report found the following;

  • Safety – Requires improvement
  • Effective – Requires improvement
  • Levels of care – Good
  • Speed of Response –  Requires improvement
  • Leadership – Inadequate

If that wasn’t bad enough, of the 7 individual medical services provided by the Maidstone Hospital Trust,  just one was up to scratch. The report described these services as follows;

  • A and E services (A&E) – Requires improvement
  • End of life care  – Requires improvement
  • Medical care (including older people’s care) – Requires improvement
  • Intensive  care- Inadequate
  • Maternity and gynaecology – Good
  • Outpatients – Requires improvement
  • Services for children & young people -Requires improvement

It really doesn’t make good reading does it.

Recent medical mistakes?

There was the case of Frances Cappuccini, the 30 year old mother of two, who died after giving birth by emergency Caesarean section. Her husband is currently in the process of making a medical negligence claim against the trust.

In 2015, a widow from Aylesford was awarded £177,000 for the death of her husband – after his heart condition Mars missed by Maidstone Hospital in December 2012. The man had earlier been discharged with follow-up and during the subsequent investigation the hospital eventually admitted that he should have been admitted to hospital instead of being sent home.

Here is the original post

Grieving relatives of five patients who died following keyhole surgery have been angered by what they believe is a “cover-up” by hospital authorities. They have demanded to be told the truth about the circumstances leading to the deaths of their loved ones.

Expected legal action for medical negligence

They are now preparing to take legal action against Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust in Kent and have voiced their concern about the failure to reveal the full findings of an external formal investigation by the Royal College of Surgeons.

Three NHS surgeons, based at the trust, have been stopped from carrying out the procedure for upper gastrointestinal cancer but have been allowed to carry on working.

Lawyers are now looking at a further 17 cases involving the surgery that has led to complications or death following botched operations by the consultants.

Despite the ban on carrying out the keyhole operation used on cancer patients, the three surgeons are still continuing with their usual duties and other surgical procedures at the trust’s hospitals alongside their private work.

The scandal is the latest of many in recent times to hit the turbulent NHS trust. The three men have been referred to the General Medical Council (GMC) that is poised to consider whether to investigate their fitness to practice while no disciplinary action has yet been taken against them by the trust.

Controversy also surrounds the motives of the three surgeons in carrying out the keyhole procedure amid claims that it was an attempt to raise their personal professional profiles in what is a highly competitive field.

It is understood that medics who were invited to attend a live broadcast of one such procedure, which resulted in the death of a 51-year-old patient, paid in the region of £900 for tickets to attend the practical seminar.

The relatives of those who died are now in the process of suing for medical negligence and Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust has also referred itself to the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) after “unexpected” and “potentially avoidable” fatalities after gastrointestinal surgical procedures in 2012 and 2013.

Following an investigation by the RCS it was recommended that the trust cease all “oesophageal and gastric resection operations” until it had addressed its failings.

It issued a warning stating that the surgeons had not demonstrated “sufficient attention to the detail of surgical outcomes or clinical decision-making in respect of keyhole procedures.” The full RCS report on its findings has not yet been revealed by the trust.

It is understood that the report makes reference to an anonymous letter from whistleblowers working for the trust highlighting their serious concerns about “dangerous and unethical practices” in surgery and the frequency of warnings made by staff in the unit over poor standards of care.

Meanwhile patients are now forced to travel to St Thomas’ Hospital, London, while the GI work is suspended at the trust.

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust defended its position in not releasing the full report following the RCS investigation stating that it was the focus of a continuing review by the GMC and consultants and may involve points of “factual accuracy”.

The trust added that it fully “accepted and implemented” the review’s recommendations and that this meant consultants responsible for the procedure should no longer carry out laparoscopic upper gastrointestinal cancer surgery.

Maidstone Hospital and medical negligence – it’s nothing new

This particular Trust is of course no stranger to controversy. Back in 2007 the Healthcare Commission was strongly critical of the way the Trust handled a nasty outbreak of Clostridium Difficile [or C Difficile as it is usually known] in its hospitals in a period April 2004 to September 2006. The Commission’s report estimated that about 90 patients “definitely or probably” died as a result of the superbug infection, a situation which, the Health Secretary at the time, Alan Johnson, described as “scandalous”.

My concern about medical negligence in Maidstone – it’s really personal

I’m particularly interested in this case. Firstly, I was born and bred in Maidstone – after being born in the old Fant Lane Hospital, I was very well treated in a number of admissions as a child to the old West Kent General Hospital in Marsham Street in the town centre.

What’s more, my father was Secretary of the group of local hospitals back in the 70s – which meant he was responsible for running West Kent and some others – and I’m sure he would have been horrified by the culture of poor standards that seems to have become endemic to the Maidstone Hospital since then. The NHS Trust seems prepared to put up with case after case of medical negligence – and when it comes to medical negligence and Maidstone, that’s a very sore spot with me – as my father, who died back in the 1980s after retiring from the hospital service, did so at Maidstone General Hospital after his own cancer was misdiagnosed for some time by a local GP.

Victim of medical negligence at Maidstone Hospital? Get expert advice today

If you’re thinking of making a claim following the death of a loved one at Maidstone Hospital, I really do understand that nothing can replace them – but our specialist medical negligence solicitors can help you claim compensation for your loss, and it will help to ensure that local NHS doesn’t continue to make mistakes like the one the cost me my father.

  • Call our team now on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 for FREE initial telephone advice;OR
  • Or email one of our medical claims experts using our enquiry form.

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