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Home   Medway   News   Article

Medway hospital crisis update: 'Patients scared to open mouths'

27 July 2013
by Dan Bloom

The fallout continues for Medway Maritime Hospital as a volunteer inspector said patients are “scared to open their mouths”.

Sucha Singh Gill, 75, a new member of Healthwatch, which holds health trusts to account, spoke after the hospital was put in special measures.

“People are suffering,” he claimed. Sir Bruce Keogh’s damning report was a “step in the right direction” but was “a very polite way of objecting to things that have gone wrong. I notice some things are changing, but why have they been wrong for so long?”

Mr Gill, who visited hospitals under the old Local Involvement Network system, said Healthwatch must be allowed unannounced inspections.

He added: “There’s so much more to be done, not just for the patients’ health but so the country and the Queen can be proud that we’re the best in the world.”

Mr Gill also criticised the complaints procedure – a sentiment that will echo with
Charlotte Jeal. The 24-year-old, from Gillingham, is suing the hospital after one of her twins died in the womb.

Her solicitors have commissioned an independent report, which alleges doctors missed key signs that her baby, Simon, was suffering a lack of oxygen eight days before he was stillborn.

The report claims Simon would have survived with no brain damage if he had been delivered on July 22, 2011.

By July 24, scans of the baby’s heart had given medics “all the information required” to perform an emergency caesarean section. Yet Miss Jeal was sent home on July 28, the report claims, despite more scan results. The report described this as “gross substandard care”.

She returned two days later with abdominal pain and her baby was pronounced dead.
His twin was delivered safely. The report was written by Edwin Chandraharan, the lead consultant on the labour ward at St George’s Hospital, London, and based on Miss Jeal’s medical records.

Miss Jeal said she had only asked for the independent report after unsuccessful meetings with the hospital.  She said: “Everyone talks about the excess deaths – my son was one of those.

“They’re overly defensive and it makes it even harder to grieve for my son.” She added: “I don’t think anything will be made any better and I’m not the first person to have problems.”

Medway NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are currently in discussion with our health partners to determine precisely what investments and improvements will be required in order to implement the recommendations and the precise timetable by which these improvements will be made.

“With respect to individual patients of the trust who are the subject of legal proceedings it would be wholly inappropriate to say anything while the proceedings are ongoing.”

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