Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust: fresh investigation to review patient deaths

Previous reports have already uncovered care failings, and nurses face FtP hearings

Other reviews have already uncovered care failings, and nurses face FtP hearings

Bill Kirkup will lead the latest investigation. Picture: PA

A fresh independent investigation of care at Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust will look at the deaths of 150 patients.

Previous reviews of the now-defunct provider found high falls rates, poor management of pressure ulcers and other example of inadequate care. They revealed a culture of bullying, with some staff who had raised concerns being undermined or suspended for indefinite periods with no explanation.

Senior managers were so determined to achieve foundation trust status that they turned a blind eye to problems and discouraged the reporting of adverse incidents, the reports found.

Nurses’ fitness to practise

Four nurses formerly employed by the trust face fitness to practise hearings at the Nursing and Midwifery Council later this month. Among them is Helen Lockett, who was the trust's director of operations and executive nurse between March 2011 and May 2014.

Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust formed in 2010 and provided services for about 750,000 people on Merseyside until 2018. It has since been taken over by Mersey Care, which uncovered evidence of further failings.

'We don't know what lessons were learned or not'

Mersey Care chief executive David Rafferty described a ‘disturbing picture’ of how the trust recorded incidents.

He said: 'We don't know what has been investigated properly or not investigated properly and therefore what lessons have been learned or not learned. That's a position you don't want to find yourself in in a health organisation.'

The new investigation, covering serious incidents between 2010 and 2014, will be led by Bill Kirkup, who published a report into the trust last year. Dr Kirkup chaired the investigation into the Morecambe Bay midwifery care scandal.

Deaths and serious incidents

The latest investigation will examine patient deaths and individual serious patient safety incidents that were not reported or adequately investigated. It will also assess the level of patient harm and any lessons to be learned.

Health minister Stephen Hammond said patients and their families deserved answers.

‘We are prepared to take any action necessary locally or nationally to prevent such occurrences in the future,’ he said.

The new investigation is expected to report its findings by the end of 2020.

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