BHRUT faces legal action from patients

Matthew Hopkins, Chief Executive of Queen’s and King George hospitals

Matthew Hopkins, Chief Executive of Queens and King George hospitals - Credit: Archant

Legal proceedings are being taken against the NHS trust which runs King George Hospital and Queen’s Hospital alleging that staffing shortages led to poor care.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust (BHRUT) faces a legal claim of 17 cases, from 2007 to 2013.

Law firm Leigh Day says 13 of the cases include poor provision of nutrition, eight cases are regarding patient falls and five include problems with pain relief.

In court documents, Leigh Day alleges the claims collectively show BHRUT’s “failure to take reasonable care to ensure that there was a safe system of healthcare provided at [Queen’s Hospital]”.

The documents say this includes a failure to provide and supervise enough suitably trained nursing staff and keep adequate records.

Emma Jones, a solicitor at Leigh Day, said: “These are fundamental issues relating to the care of patients.

“We alleged that safe systems were not in place at the Trust from around 2007.

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“Surely patient safety must be at the top of the agenda for all Trusts at all time, not just an issue that is considered when regulations come into force. We felt it was imperative to do something to try to ensure these issues were taken seriously.”

Matthew Hopkins, chief executive of BHRUT, said: “These cases date back as far as 2007, although the firm of solicitors – who appealed through the local media for people to contact them with allegations – are referring to requirements and regulations which came into force in 2010 with the Health and Social Care Act.

“Unfortunately in some of these cases patients have not raised their complaints with us, so we have not had the opportunity to investigate their concerns and respond directly to them.”

Mr Hopkins said there had been large investment in the trust’s nursing levels over the past two years and they were in line with national standards. The trust are spending £1.4m to recruit 80 more nurses this year.