By Lauren Unsworth, Paralegal, Clinical Negligence
What are Special Measures?
Special Measures is when a Hospital Trust is no longer trusted to run itself alone.
The a decision to place Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust in Special Measures came directly from Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, who said, “In light of the ongoing concerns about the trust’s quality and performance and recent concerns raised by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), I believe that this is the right decision to take to ensure safe services for patients.”
A Trust that cannot be relied upon to run itself alone receives oversight from NHS Improvement. This recommendation is unusual because the CQC were due to inspect the Trust, and had already previously recommended Special Measures. Local politicians had requested that the Trust be placed in Special Measures as they were concerned about the governance of the Trust and that complaints weren’t being actioned.
This isn’t an indictment of the Trust as a whole as the concerns specifically relate to the Trust’s hospitals: Royal Shrewsbury and the Princess Royal. The areas of real question are their Maternity and Accident and Emergency departments. NHS Improvement have also voiced concerns over governance, workforce (insufficient staffing levels in urgent care) and whistleblowing.
Why Special Measures?
In 2017, the then Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Jeremy Hunt ordered an investigation into Maternity Care relating to 23 cases at the Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust. Since then, the scope of the investigation has expanded with 215 families coming forward to allege maternity errors.
According to BBC’s Michael Buchanan, “The investigation now looks to be one of the “biggest crisis in maternity care in the history of the NHS.” Thirty-six of the families believe their babies died as a result of mistakes, and 22 have suffered permanent harm. It is worrying to hear that some of the deaths happened as recently as December 2017.
At Switalskis we hope that the ongoing review by the CQC and support from Special Measures will be enough to improve the overall care provided by the Trust and provide answers for the families so tragically affected.
What should I do if I think I am affected?
At Switalskis, we regularly deal with cases relating to maternity care and we appreciate how this can impact upon the parents of affected children and the wider family. If you believe that you or a loved one have been subject to similar negligence and would like to talk to a lawyer, please do get in touch. The Medical Negligence team can be contacted on 0800 138 0458 or you can send us a message via the contact form below.