New independent investigation into serious incidents at trust welcomed by MP

New independent investigation into serious incidents at trust welcomed by MP

by Henry James (June 2019)

A NEW independent investigation into the serious incidents at Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust between 2010 and 2014 has been welcomed by West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper.

The investigation will draw upon new evidence identified by Mersey Care following the Kirkup report in 2018.

Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust provided some services in West Lancashire and Sefton.

The investigation will engage with families of former patients and affected staff to understand their concerns and develop recommendations.

NHS England and NHS Improvement will establish the investigation. It will be chaired by Dr Bill Kirkup and supported by an independent expert oversight panel.

The investigation will be conducted in three stages:

- stages one and two will identify individual serious patient safety incidents that were not reported or adequately investigated by Liverpool Community Health and also undertake a series of historical mortality reviews

- stage three will fully investigate incidents identified in stages one and two to determine the scale of patient harm, identifying local and national learnings

The panel will advise where they believe senior leadership within the trust may have contributed to the delivery of unsafe patient care, identifying any themes, trends or issues that may require further investigation.

Work on stages one and two is expected to start immediately and the independent investigation will report by the end of 2020.

A previous review into Liverpool Community Health was conducted by Dr Kirkup to look at widespread failings at the trust. The report was published in February 2018.

It described how over-ambitious cost improvement programmes as part of a bid for foundation trust status placed patient safety at risk, leading to serious lapses in care and widespread harm to patients. It concluded that a culture of bullying meant that staff were afraid to speak up and safety incidents were ignored or went unrecognised.

Rosie Cooper MP, who made complaints about the quality of care her late dad received when treated by the trust in 2013, said: “I have long called for this independent review of the systemic / systematic failings at Liverpool Community Health, and for a genuinely independent review that has the scope to delve deeper into understanding these failings than the first report done by Dr Bill Kirkup. 150 deaths and 43,000 incidents have been identified but never fully investigated and brought to a close. It is important that those responsible are held to account.

“Patients and staff of Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust need certainty, stability and assurances that the harm caused by past failings will not be repeated.

“I look forward to working with Dr Kirkup and the Department and finally bringing justice and closure for staff and patients of the former Liverpool Community Trust.”

The report has been commissioned by health minister, Stephen Hammond. He said: “We owe it to the patients and families affected by substandard care in Liverpool Community Health to establish the full extent of events and give them the answers they need.”

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