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Birmingham NHS trust fined over deaf patient consent failings


An NHS trust has been fined £8,000 for failing to obtain consent from a deaf man, or his family, for hospital procedures.

Health and care regulator, The Care Quality Commission (CQC) issued two fixed penalty notices to University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) NHS Trust.

Staff wrongly assumed the man, 55, was not able to make decisions, their investigation found.

The man, who had epilepsy and was also autistic, was admitted six times to Good Hope Hospital between May and October in 2019.

He communicated using British Sign Language (BSL) and lip-reading, the CQC said.

Three times the hospital failed to follow regulations and get consent for using feeding tubes for the man when he was struggling with food, the watchdog's investigation found.

Staff made no attempts to find a BSL interpreter, involve his family, or talk with his Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) for two of the medical procedures.

An LPA is nominated by an incapacitated person to take financial and health decisions on their behalf.

For the third procedure, staff made contact only with the man's LPA.

The CQC's head of hospital inspection, Bernadette Hanney, said the trust's failings were about consent, particularly when linked to mental capacity.

She said: "The trust should have made much more effort to communicate with him in a way that he understood, every time."

The CQC said it was satisfied the trust had training and policies in place for the future as long as they were followed.

The hospital accepted the failings and has learnt from them, a spokesperson for the trust said.

A spokesperson for UHB said the man died in 2020 and they referred the case after examining the care he received. They added that the failings did not affect his care or death.