Barts Health NHS Trust sees 290 serious incidents over two years

Health campaigners fear bosses at Barts Health NHS Trust may close A&E at Newham University Hospital

Health campaigners fear bosses at Barts Health NHS Trust may close A&E at Newham University Hospital - Credit: Archant

There were 290 serious incidents at Barts Health NHS Trust in two years, the latest figures show.

The data, gained through a freedom of information request made by Blackwater Law, applies to April 2015 to March 2017 and shows the trust is the highest in London behind Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS Trust with 225 and 209 incidents respectively.

The NHS defines a serious incident as something that led to avoidable death, serious harm, prolonged pain, barriers to providing care, abuse allegations or adverse media coverage. The NHS class them as events which trusts can learn from.

Blackwater Law solicitor Jason Brady said: “It is crucial to remember these are not just statistics. Each incident is a patient and a family that may be suffering, potentially unnecessarily, with possible long-term implications for their future and quality of life.”

A spokesman for Barts Health NHS Trust said: “As one of the country’s largest trusts - caring for over 170,000 inpatients and 1.4 million outpatients every year - we encourage our staff to report incidents when things don’t go right as we know it helps us learn and improve care.

“So while these incidents represent a small proportion of the total number of patients we see, and not all will have caused harm, we investigate each and every one thoroughly to see where improvements can be made.

“We are confident that encouraging this culture of safety is working, with inspectors issuing improved ratings at Newham, The Royal London and Whipps Cross hospitals in recent months,” he added.

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In its report Blackwater Law described a “concerning” upward trend in the number of cases it receives from clients who have suffered serious incidents.

Senior solicitor Dominic Graham said: “It is extremely concerning to see this almost complete picture of the number and type of serious incidents.”

The highest number of serious incidents recorded was in the capital which saw 2,649 events. London has the second highest number of NHS trusts and health boards in England and Wales.

The data shows 40,668 serious incidents were recorded across 228 NHS trusts in England and Wales over the two year period.