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Investigation into Midland's A&E department.


An investigation has been launched into a hospital A&E department after concerns about the deaths of 54 patients in six-months.

Health watchdog, The Care Quality Commission (CQC) examined Russells Hall Hospital's death records from the first six months of 2018 as part of an inspection in June 2018.

Now an independent inquiry, led by former NHS England deputy chief executive, Mike Bewick, has been ordered into the hospital, run by Dudley Group NHS Trust, which says it has the region's lowest mortality rate.                   

The CQC has issued the A&E department with four enforcement notices since January 2018, meaning the trust has to report to it regularly.

A CQC spokesperson said: "The CQC has raised concerns about deaths at Russells Hall Hospital and, following inspection and discussion with partner agencies, an independent review has been commissioned to look into a number of deaths.

"The review of deaths falls outside our remit. However, we continue to monitor the trust very closely and have taken enforcement action."

Inspectors visited the hospital in June and gave it an overall rating of "requires improvement.”

Chief executive of the Dudley Group Trust, Diane Wake, said an initial draft report suggested many of the patients had been dead on arrival and there was no national data to determine how many deaths there should be in an emergency department.

In its latest inspection report, the health watchdog rated urgent and emergency care "inadequate.”

Responding to the report, Ms Wake said the trust had recently appointed a new clinical lead for urgent and emergency care.

She added that the trust had approached a neighbouring trust whose A&E was rated "good", so that "best practice" could be shared between consultants.

During the June inspection, four staff told the CQC they would not want relatives to be treated there over fears they "may deteriorate or die.”

Inspectors saw three patients in reception who "appeared very unwell" and members of the public raised concerns for the safety of two of them.

One of the three was bleeding profusely until inspectors intervened and asked for them to be treated due to concerns for their immediate safety.

The watchdog also found care records were not always accurate and complete.