Care failings at Sheffield hospitals

Sheffield's Northern General Hospital
Sheffield's Northern General Hospital
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A heart attack patient not checked for nearly seven hours, and an OAP with a chest infection left without proper nutrition, were failings at Sheffield’s hospitals brought before an official complaints body this year.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman - the last resort for people wanting to complain against the NHS - has published a new report revealing hospital blunders it investigated between April and June.

Two cases involved Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, and each was partly upheld by the ombudsman.

One of the patients - neither of whom are named in the report - was a woman treated for a suspected heart attack who was found suffering a cardiac arrest after not being monitored for almost seven hours. She was revived and continued to receive hospital treatment, but later died of pneumonia.

Doctors ‘did not realise’ the woman was a high-risk patient, and a consultant explained to the family in an ‘insensitive manner’ his opinion that she should not be resuscitated, the ombudsman ruled.

The trust has since apologised to the woman’s daughter and has launched an action plan.

Meanwhile the second patient - a man in his late 70s - died several months after being admitted to hospital with a chest infection.

The ombudsman found ‘serious failings’ in his care, including a lack of adequate food and drink, but added the errors did not lead to the pensioner’s death.

The report said the trust had ‘identified a number of improvements’ as a part of its own investigation.

Chris Morley, deputy chief nurse at Sheffield Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We see over two million patients a year and we are very sorry that on these two occasions the care provided was not to the high standard we normally deliver. We have formally apologised to the families of these patients and lessons have been learned in order for us to make improvements.”

Julie Mellor, the current ombudsman, said she hoped the report gave people ‘the confidence to complain’.