08th July 2011

Hospitals ‘named and shamed’ on bedsores record which costs NHS

 7:30AM BST 04 Jul 2011, by The Telegraph

Hospitals are being "named and shamed" in an effort to end the bedsore crisis which is costing the NHS £4 billion a year.

Ten have been listed on a league table which outs the worst offenders, with Warrington and Halton Hospitals Trust in Cheshire topping the list.

Bedsores kill almost as many patients as the MRSA superbug and health chiefs warn the cost of treating sufferers uses four per cent of the entire NHS budget.

The sores – also known as pressure ulcers – cause hundreds of deaths a year, taking hold when bed-bound patients are not regularly turned over or given special mattresses by nurses.

Most victims are elderly or long-term patients who need help to move.

Warrington and Halton Hospitals Trust is followed by the Medway Trust in Kent, Southend University Hospital Trust in Essex, Royal Bolton Hospital in Greater Manchester and West Herts Trust, which covers Watford General.

The final five are Luton and Dunstable Hospital Trust, West Suffolk Hospitals Trust, Northern Devon Healthcare Trust, George Eliot Hospital Trust in Nuneaton, Warwicks, and Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust. They all have the lowest bedsore rate.

The statistics were drawn up by NHS standards watchdog Dr Foster after a survey of 150 hospitals. A third of the hospitals surveyed had bed sore rates higher than the national average.

And the worst had pressure ulcer rates four times higher than the national average.

Bedsores hit 412,000 NHS patients a year and the latest figures show they killed 4,708 people between 2003 and 2008 close to the MRSA death-toll.

Unison’s nursing union chief Gail Adams claimed Government moves to save £20billion in the NHS could make the crisis even worse.
She said: "Thousands of nurses are losing their jobs and this could lead to a rise in the number of patients with bedsores.

And campaign group The Patients Association said: "There needs to be mandatory monitoring of pressure ulcers so we can drive up standards, making sure poor performers are held to account.

Action Against Medical Accidents say they are completely avoidable.

Chief Executive Peter Walsh said: "Its down poor nursing care and there should be zero tolerance of bed sores. But sadly they are accepted and it leads to a lot of misery and suffering for patients and their relatives.

"These are highly preventable. Stopping them is not rocket science. But in many hospitals they happen too easily."

Many of the shamed hospitals have said they are taking action.

A Warrington spokesman said: "The prevention and reporting of ulcers has been strengthened over the past year."

And the Royal Bolton said: "A great deal of work has been undertaken to make improvements."

However, Southend University Hospital Trust in Essex disputed the statistics.