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NHS Scotland’s “systematic” care failings

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

According to a body that represents health professionals in Scotland, the NHS has to address a number of “systematic failures”. With a number of reported issues in staffing and leadership, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties recommended the NHS to agree upon minimum staffing levels for all hospitals in the country. The Scottish Government, however, said that staffing-levels were at their highest ever rate.

The academy looked at three reports of serious care failings in NHS Scotland and set up a group to look at how the health service could learn from these issues. The reports they examined were: the staffing and leadership problems at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI), the high mortality rates at NHS Lanarkshire, and the “worst-everoutbreak of C-difficile infection at the Vale of Leven Hospital.

Failings reflected by patient care standards

The academy’s report, ‘Learning from Serious Failings in Care’, found four key issues to be responsible: poor leadership from NHS boards, poor leadership from senior staff, serious staff shortages and poor staff morale. The group, chaired by Prof Alan Paterson, said that these failings were obviously reflected by the patient care provided.

Royal College of Nursing Scotland Director Theresa Fyffe said:

“Having appropriately trained and experienced staff must be a priority for all health boards if they are to deliver safe, high-quality care to patients.”

The report made 20 recommendations to NHS Scotland, including less of a reliance on locum staff and a call for quality of care to be put before the meeting of targets.

The Scottish government’s national clinical director for healthcare quality, Prof Jason Leitch, said that they would review all the recommendations, and “take forward any learning that will benefit NHS Scotland.

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