The Bristol Royal Hospital for Children is at the centre of yet another NHS hospital scandal. According to families whose children died after poor treatment at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, the hospital is still “in denial” about the errors which caused the deaths. The families made their comments after it was announced that Sir Bruce Keogh, the most senior doctor in the NHS, had ordered an independent review into goings-on at the hospital after the deaths of several small children and babies.
NHS Chief Sir Bruce also ordered the NHS to completely reconsider how parents are treated by doctors and other staff when children suffer from post-surgical complications or even die. A “catalogue of neglect and poor care” in the children’s cardiac unit at the Bristol hospital was alleged by several parents of children who were treated there.
Sir Ian Kennedy, who led the first investigation into the deaths of babies at Bristol Royal Infirmary in the 1990s has been asked to head up the new enquiry into the latest cases. This new enquiry was announced by Sir Bruce Keogh after a lengthy meeting with the parents of seven families where the children either died or were seriously ill after a stay in the Bristol hospital. University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust welcomed the review.
Around ten families are believed to be in ongoing legal action against University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, including seven families whose children died after surgery. Prior to the legal action, families had called for a full public enquiry into what was happening in the NHS in Bristol, stating that standards were “chronically low”. A further group of parents pointed out that the recommendations made in the previous Kennedy report in the 1990s had still to be implemented.
What’s perhaps most striking about this particular piece of news is that it sounds so very familiar. Medical negligence lawyers will know all too well how very defensive the NHS gets when they’re criticised. We all make mistakes – and the best way to move on is, surely, to admit that mistake and make sure you don’t make it again. The NHS culture seems to involve an arrogant refusal to admit mistakes – that’s one of the reasons why medical negligence cases involves such high legal costs and more importantly, it is one of the reasons why there continue to be so many NHS scandals.
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