Start your claim

July 18th 2017

Medical Negligence

Poor Care Leading to ‘Shocking’ Death Rate in NHS Hospitals

Chris Moore

Chris Moore

Joint Head of Clinical Negligence

Poor Care Leading to ‘Shocking’ Death Rate in NHS Hospitals

Sick patients in NHS hospitals are dying ‘unnecessarily’ according to a new inquiry, with poor care and lack of equipment attributing to a worsening death rate. Patients who need emergency help for breathing problems are most at risk, with one-third of inpatients dying due to ‘major flaws’ in the treatment they receive. The death rate for people with breathing difficulties is already high by international standards, and is getting worse.

Sick patients in NHS hospitals are dying ‘unnecessarily’ according to a new inquiry, with poor care and lack of equipment attributing to a worsening death rate.

Patients who need emergency help for breathing problems are most at risk, with one-third of inpatients dying due to ‘major flaws’ in the treatment they receive. The death rate for people with breathing difficulties is already high by international standards, and is getting worse.

The findings come as part of the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death study, which analyses patient outcomes across all NHS services. Investigators charged with publishing the NCEPOD report described the findings as ‘shocking’, blaming the sharp rise in deaths on mismanagement, delayed diagnosis and inadequate equipment across the health service.

Between February and March this year NCEPOD investigators examined 353 patients with serious breathing difficulties, and found that the vast majority received substandard treatment. Many of the patients assessed suffered from pneumonia, pulmonary disease or similar conditions which meant they couldn’t breathe unaided. In some cases, hospital staff failed to administer non-invasive intervention (NIV) through an oxygen mask, resulting in unnecessary death and suffering.

Shockingly, patients received poor care and inadequate monitoring of symptoms in four out of five cases. Treatment was often delayed due to a lack of equipment, and the failure of medical staff to recognise when NIV was needed. Doctors involved in carrying out the NCEPOD assessment were appalled by the findings, stating that their hard-hitting conclusions were justified.

In an emergency, NIV treatment administered in hospital is supposed to reduce the risk of death from 20% to 10%. However, the NCEPOD study revealed that the average death rate in the UK is closer to 35% — significantly higher than expected. By contrast, the death rate in Spain is 18% and 10% in France. According to historic NCEPOD data, the UK death rate has been rising since 2011, when it first reached a high of 30%.

Are Spending Cuts to Blame for High Death Rate in NHS Hospitals?

The NHS has faced crippling spending cuts in recent years, with resources severely impacted across all services. The NCEPOD report found that two out of five hospitals have been unable to cope with inpatients that need NIV help with breathing problems due to a lack of equipment, including basic ventilators which cost anywhere from £1,000 to £2,000.

The report also revealed that a shortage of nursing staff is partly to blame for rising death rates. Staff shortages were reported in one-half of all hospitals assessed by the NCEPOD, meaning that a vast majority are failing to offer the proposed staffing ratio of one nurse to two NIV patients — putting lives at risk.

While it’s clear the NHS spending crisis is partly to blame for the rising death rate, it’s troubling that many deaths could have been prevented by a timely and accurate diagnosis, and the administering of appropriate treatment and care.

Mismanagement, delayed diagnosis and poor treatment of NIV patients are inexcusable, and more must be done to improve services in NHS hospitals. It’s scandalous that the current UK death rate for NIV inpatients is nearly double that of other European nations — highlighting the gross failings of our health service.

Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of serious health conditions can have a life-changing impact. If you or someone you know has been affected by medical negligence, visit our hospital complaints page to find out we could help.

What Our Clients Say

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Hudgell Solicitors have given me…"

Hudgell Solicitors have given me outstanding service and support through a difficult time. They have assisted me in claiming compensation which they made the journey of getting it as easy as possible.

KatieFebruary 14, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Couldn't be easier"

Couldn't be easier. From the initial call the whole process was handled smoothly and effortlessly.

Kevin RobertFebruary 14, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Amazing !!"

I felt relaxed through the whole process, i was made to feel confident in winning my case which i would like to add i did 😁 .. the company kept me informed all the way through by emails aswell as telephone calls, i would highly recomend to everyone needing expert…

LesleyFebruary 11, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Really happy with the service I had…"

Really happy with the service I had from Hudgells & Alex was great!

Natalie PayneFebruary 10, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Claim resolved quickly and efficiently"

The lawyer was quick to respond and always kept me updated on progress. Everything was resolved efficiently. I would certainly recommend them to family and friends.

Lulu BFebruary 04, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"There when ever I needed to ask a…"

There when ever I needed to ask a question, very informative, brilliant job definitely use them again if I needed too

KatieFebruary 03, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Thank you Sarah Kidd"

Sarah Kidd was fantastic she give me the best advice always keeping me up to date with everything that was going on

Christopher DixonJanuary 31, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"It took over 3 years to resolve my case…"

It took over 3 years to resolve my case and Hudgell supported me throughout with great sensitivity and professionalism. My caseworker, Gemma, always kept me updated and was easily reached if l had questions to ask. Can wholeheartedly recommend Hudgell.

Robert WebsterJanuary 31, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Every time I phoned my call was…"

Every time I phoned my call was answered in a polite manner and I got answers to my questions.

KhalidJanuary 30, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Anthony and his team at Hudgell…"

Anthony and his team at Hudgell solicitors are extremely professional and caring People. From the first phone conversation right through to completion i was always kept updated, if i had any concerns and contacted them, they were always happy to listen and put my mind at rest. I would highly…

Mrs lisa martinJanuary 21, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Excellent service"

Great service . Made me feel at ease . Proffesional and very quick to respond to any questions or concerns I would highly reccomend

LesleyJanuary 21, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Excellent service"

Excellent service

JensonJanuary 21, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Excellent service"

Excellent service, Alex Garven was most helpful in dealing with my claim. Many thanks for his hard work in getting a result for me,. It took quite a while but during that time I received regular progress updates and a quick response if I had any queries .

Jill ElliottJanuary 15, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Lauren Dale"

Lauren Dale was so sensitive when dealing with my mums claim and she totally understood what i really wanted from the outcome. she kept me fully informed of everything, as and when it happened. I cannot thank her enough for her help and understanding on such a sensitive case. 5…

Jane from North YorkshieJanuary 11, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Excellent Service"

Excellent, professional and friendly solicitors. It was a very simple process and they kept in constant contact to update me on any developments. Would definitely recommend.

Philippa January 09, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Could not have been simpler or easier"

Could not have been simpler or easier, they did everything required and more. Nice, pleasant to talk to, they do all the leg work, put everything into context and resolve as quick as possible. Hopefully will not have to use again but if a situation arises then would not hesitate…

DarrenJanuary 08, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Very helpful and always kept in touch…"

Very helpful and always kept in touch via email through the while process. Highly recommended

Joseph Conrad Waudby January 07, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Brilliant customer service"

Brilliant customer service, always will contact you as they say they will. Have been very helpful with my case and explained the process thoroughly, very easy to understand. Would definitely recommend.

Julia MatildaJanuary 07, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Verry happy with the result they got…"

Verry happy with the result they got for my claim very officiant and professional my particular solicitor was the most friendly official type person that I have dealt with before really happy with the freindly kind manner in which they dealt with myself and my claim I would recommend them…

Richard RobertsJanuary 07, 2020