Families left in dark over resuscitation at Northwick Park Hospital - CQC report

PUBLISHED: 11:34 04 July 2013 | UPDATED: 11:34 04 July 2013

Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow

Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow

2006 Getty Images

Hospital chiefs failed to inform the families of four patients that their relative would not be resuscitated if his or her heart stopped, a report has revealed.

An inspection at Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found that the relatives of patients who were not able to make decisions for themselves had not been consulted by doctors over the question of resuscitation.

The CQC claimed suitable arrangements were not in place for obtaining, and acting in accordance with, the consent of patients in relation to care and treatment the hospital provided.

It said: “There was limited information about their ability to make decisions.”

It concluded the hospital had failed to comply with Regulation 18 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 and said improvements were required.

The hospital was given a clean bill of health in all other areas, including safeguarding from abuse, care and welfare of patients, and ensuring confidentiality.

Sarah Cox, a Brent Fightback health campaigner, said the findings on resuscitation were a serious matter. “Obviously hospitals are under a lot of strain, she said. “If Northwick Park is going to be expanded, with Ealing Hospital closing and Central Middlesex Hospital changing, Northwick Park will be expected to take more on. You can’t help but be anxious about how they will cope if they become a major hospital.

She added: “It’s a lack of respect for the patient and respect is a vital part. They are not looking at the whole picture.

“They are looking at it from the economic point of view of surgeons and technology, not nursing care and people having family around them when they are recovering.”

Professor Rory Shaw, medical director for The North West London Hospitals NHS Trust, told the Times he was concerned that they had not been doing it right every time.

He added: “Understanding and documenting the wishes and thoughts of patients and carers is our key priority at the very end of a person’s life.

“I have reinforced the message to all staff, changed how we monitor these forms, and I have personally walked round the wards checking the forms.”

He concluded: “The CQC revisited the Trust on June 27 and I hope that they will have seen a marked improvement in this area.”

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