10 JUL 2016
BY MARTIN HALLE
New figures show that 287 deaths were recorded as ‘unexpected’ at the North Middlesex Hospital over a two-year period from 2014-15
North Middlesex Hospital in Edmonton North Middlesex Hospital, where recent deaths are higher than the national average
A scandal-hit NHS trust faces a new probe into whether it is to blame for the deaths of nearly 300 patients, the Sunday People can reveal.
New figures show that 287 deaths were recorded as “unexpected” at the North Middlesex Hospital over a two-year period from 2014-2015.
Many of those were vulnerable elderly people who needed support to ensure they drank and ate properly.
The deaths are contained in official Department of Health figures and show the hospital’s death rate is higher than the national average.
It was the collection of such data by Imperial College London that helped expose the high death rates at Stafford Hospital. It had as many as 1,200 additional deaths between 2005 and 2009.
Ambulances outside the A&E department of the North Middlesex Hospital in Edmonton
Last week, Care Quality Commission inspectors found more failings in the North London hospital’s A&E department after two visits in a month.
In February the Sunday People exposed the dreadful care in the hospital’s A&E after a Tannoy announcement told 100 people waiting to see a doctor to go home and come back in the morning unless they were dying.
In their latest visit, CQC inspectors learned that a patient had lain dead in A&E for four hours after staff failed to monitor him.
They also found a lack of consultants and nurses seeing patients who arrived by ambulance. And an untrained receptionist was deciding which patients saw A&E doctors.
On elderly wards, inspectors found evidence that patients were probably being deprived of food and fluids.
John JamesProfessor Sir Brian JarmanProfessor Brian Jarman helped expose the high death rates at Stafford Hospital
Records showing how much a patient drank or ate were not kept, and routine medical checks were not performed.
Patients were also getting the wrong drugs. Inspectors also found evidence of abuse of patients by staff. Many of those who died at Stafford were elderly people starved of fluids and food.
The CQC singled out failures to give fluids and food on North Middlesex’s Charles Coward ward when it failed its care of the elderly unit in 2014.
Professor Brian Jarman, who helped expose the high death rates at Stafford Hospital, said: “What is going on at North Middlesex is very worrying.”
Last January, an NHS whistleblower visited Charles Coward ward and wrote to Trust chief Julie Lowe, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and CQC chairman David Prior. She raised concerns about patient safety but they were apparently ignored.
Prof Jarman, of Imperial College London, said the death figures were reminiscent of Stafford and urged the CQC to mount an urgent inspection of the hospital.
He said: “They need to quickly find out what is going wrong to prevent more deaths. It is two years since the last inspection and the hospital doesn’t seem to be improving.”
Shadow Health Secretary Diane Abbott said: “These figures are a scandal. Since the closure of nearby Chase Farm hospital’s A&E unit, North Middlesex has failed to cope.”
Sunday People page 5 – February 21st 2016
Last year three patients died as a result of A&E blunders at the North Middlesex. Concern over the safety of A&E patients has led to ambulance crews being told not to use it at night.
North Middlesex Hospital was failed by CQC inspectors in 2014. Just days before, local MP David Burrowes nearly died from a burst appendix after he was left on a trolley in A&E for 12 hours.
A spokesman for the North Middlesex said: “We are working with the CQC to make sure we improve.”
But hospital boss Lowe is on leave. Another NHS manager has taken over.
The Department of Health said: “Recent incidences of poor care at North Middlesex are unacceptable. The situation must change and quickly.”