05 October 2012
Medical Negligence Solicitor Michelle Woolls discusses patient care standards
I read with interest in the news that the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Nursing have issued a joint statement emphasising that daily ward rounds are essential for patient safety and care.
In the joint press release, they state:
"A ward round is the key vehicle for coordinating care for every hospital inpatient; the information gained and shared is crucial to the on-going care of the patient. Restoring the ward round is essential for patient safety and for being able to deliver safe, effective patient care. Ward rounds are also critical to developing a rapport and building trust with patients."
It is recommended that Consultants team up with one Nurse on the ward and visit each patient every morning. It goes on to suggest that they spend at least 15 minutes with new patients and between 5 and 10 minutes with existing patients that they have seen before.
To me, this seems obvious. Did it really need to be formally expressed in a statement? It seems so.
I act for several victims of Medical Negligence who complain to me that throughout their hospital admission, they were rarely, if ever, seen by a Consultant. Examples include:
• A client who was admitted to hospital with a severe headache of sudden onset. She was vomiting and suffering from sensitivity to light. She was not reviewed by a Consultant prior to being discharged with a diagnosis of Swine Flu. Two days later, she collapsed having suffered from a secondary bleed as a result of a Brain Haemorrhage.
• A client (admitted over the Christmas period) who was reviewed by whichever Doctor happened to be on duty at the time. She was discharged with a diagnosis of muscular back pain. It was later found that she had a Spinal Tumour which would have been discovered during her first admission had her x-ray been reviewed by a Consultant of the correct speciality.
• Several clients who have been discharged from hospital with no further treatment recommended, despite the fact that they have suffered from various undiagnosed fractures which could have been spotted had the x-ray been reviewed by a Consultant.
I could go on.
Whilst we all appreciate that medical professionals must often work with limited time and resources, it is disappointing that this fundamental aspect of patient care is not being adhered to. We can only hope that the recommendations in this joint statement are implemented as a priority.
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