Social work and end-of-life care

Social work is important in end-of-life care

No comeback for poor care in privatised healthcare?

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The Care Quality Commission (the health and social care regulator) has published its annual ‘state of care’ report, which has had some press coverage, mainly about poor standards of staffing and respect in care in quite a lot of nursing homes and hospitals.

Link to the CQC ‘State of Care’ report here, or click the pic.121214 CQC 2012

It is interesting to surmise what the consequences of this kind of information is. One sign is an interesting article by a lawyer who supports patients making ‘clinical negligence’ claims. She says that because older people have more complex needs, they are likely to be let down by poor staffing, and poor record-keeping may mean there is no comeback, because there is not sufficient evidence of negligence in the records.

I’m more cynical than she is. Could private sector providers (where recording is worse anyway) purposely degrade recording so that there is no comeback? Will this be another consequence of poor private sector care provision in the newly privatised NHS?

Link to the law commentary.

Here’s an excerpt from what she says:

It is a frankly astonishing that almost a quarter of the homes inspected did not have adequate staffing levels. These are the nursing homes which provide for complex health needs. 16% of hospital services failed to meet the staffing requirement levels that the CQC considered appropriate. This is a significant number of hospitals failing to provide sufficient staff to deal with care needs of patients.

The other issue which was equally important, particularly for lawyers, is that as a result of the increased pressure on limited employees, the level of appropriate record-keeping was deteriorating. In addition, so was the management of medicines.

As lawyers we depend a great deal on the medical records that were contemporaneously completed. In the private sector medical records can often be poor. In the NHS sector they tend to be more thorough. It is a worrying aspect of the report that across the board record-keeping was beginning to deteriorate. Not all institutions were poor, but a significant minority were not providing the level of record-keeping that should be expected.

And further on:

For clinical negligence lawyers it is likely that we will see an increase in potential claims to consider. What is worrying, however, in addition is that, as lawyers, we may not be able to ascertain fully what is happening because the medical records have not been completed properly.

Whilst by far the majority of inspections clearly demonstrated adequate care, there is a significant minority where the care does not meet the standard and where it is much more likely that serious accidents will occur. At the same time as the legal system is changing so that it will become more difficult for claimants to seek compensation for clinical negligence, we are dealing with a health care system which is failing a number of its own clients. The overall result may be fewer claims to the NHS and other bodies, but that does not mean that the negligence is not happening. It does not solve the problem of what happens after somebody has had an accident and requires further care as a result.


Written by Malcolm Payne

14 December 2012 at 11:59 am

One Response

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  1. this health care blog site is helpful and useful for mankind, thanks.

    Abdur Rahim

    18 January 2013 at 10:02 am

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