Sick patients dying ‘unnecessarily’ in NHS because of poor care
From The Observer: Some of the sickest patients that hospitals treat are dying unnecessarily because they receive poor care, blighted by shortages of staff and equipment, a new NHS inquiry has revealed.
A death rate of one in three among inpatients with serious breathing problems is already high by international standards, and is getting worse.
The analysis by the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death of NHS services for those who receive non-invasive ventilation (NIV) treatment uncovered a series of major flaws in the care they received. It described its findings as “shocking”.
The growing numbers of patients who receive the treatment usually have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia or other conditions which mean they cannot breathe unaided. Despite their lives being at risk, the report judged that care was “less than good” in 80% of the 353 patients surveyed.
“The care of these patients was rated as less than good in four out of five cases. The mortality rate was high: more than one in three patients died,” the inquiry found. “Supervision of care and patient monitoring were commonly inadequate. Case selection for NIV was often inappropriate and treatment was frequently delayed due to a combination of service organisation and a failure to recognise that NIV was needed.” In addition, investigators found from examining case notes that “the quality of medical care provided was often poor. This poor care included both non-ventilator treatment and ventilation management, which were frequently inappropriate”.