Children's Services at Kettering General Hospital classed as ‘inadequate’ by Care Quality Commission with dozens of families voicing their concerns

We recently reported on the serious concerns that had been raised by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) after an inspection of the Paediatric Assessment Unit, Skylark ward and Neonatal Unit at Kettering General Hospital in Northamptonshire.

The CQC were sufficiently concerned in December 2022 that they took enforcement action “to ensure people were safe” on Skylark ward and in the Paediatric Emergency Department. The concerns raised, included repeated failures to diagnose life-threatening illnesses and the discharge of patients requiring urgent care.

Whilst the BBC reported earlier this year that a number of parents were concerned with the treatment given to their children, they now report dozens more families have come forward, bringing the number of concerned families to 50.

As part of the inspection by the CQC they noted that “staff did not always effectively identify and quickly act upon patients at risk of deterioration”. Inspectors also reported that there were sometimes “delays in medical reviews being undertaken outside of normal working hours”.Further concerns raised by the CQC included:

  • Inspectors were concerned about a potential risk of missing a child who needed to be safeguarded, because records did not correlate.
  • Wards were not always clean, including a "significant amount of brown dirt" on bathroom doors, dirt in shower areas and behind toilets, and dust on cot rails.
  • There was not always an "open culture where patients, their families and staff could raise concerns without fear".
  • There were not enough nursing or medical staff, with key nursing leadership positions being vacant.

The CQC felt that limited progress had been made by the Trust since they initially raised issues in 2017 and they have now issued to a warning notice to the Trust to make immediate improvements on "multiple areas", including medicines management, identification and treatment of sepsis, safeguarding processes and learning from serious incidents.

The Trust have accepted the findings of the CQC report and Chief Executive, Deborah Needham, commented “I would like to sincerely apologise to any families who feel they have been let down by our services. Immediately after the CQC’s inspection in December we launched a comprehensive improvement programme to look at the issues raised and decide how we can resolve them”.

It is a difficult experience for families, whenever a child needs medical treatment in hospital, being able to access good care is essential. For some children and their loved ones, the impact of the failings at Kettering General Hospital have been devastating.  Whilst the Trust acknowledge families may feel let down, it is clear much more work needs to be done to rectify the problems highlighted by the CQC findings.

Our Clinical Negligence solicitors have vast experience in claims arising from the substandard paediatric care, including group and multi-party actions. We have previously been involved in bringing multiparty actions for negligent surgical treatment.

If you have had a poor experience or been affected by sub-standard care provided by Kettering General Hospital, please contact our experienced clinical negligence solicitors to discuss how we can help and support you:

Carolyn Lowe, Partner | | 0186 578 1019

Catherine Bell, Director | | 0186 578 1140

Katie Shaw, Associate | | 0186 578 1009

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