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NHS has Missed Opportunities to Learn From Patient Deaths, says CQC

A national review carried out by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has found that the National Health Service (NHS) is failing to learn from patient deaths with grieving families often ignored or left in the dark during the investigations.

On 13th December, a report was out where the regulator has raised major concerns about the quality of investigation processes led by NHS trusts into patient deaths and the failure to prioritise learning from these deaths so that action can be taken to progress care for future patients and their families. 

The report of CQC says that the health service’s failure to appropriately look into deaths is “a system-wide problem” which means hospitals are not learning from their faults and thus stopping other disasters from occurring.

The national review was carried out at the request of Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for health. The CQC’s review looked at how NHS acute, community and mental health trusts across the nation identify, report, investigate and discover from the deaths of people using their services. They looked at the deaths of all patients, with a focus on the deaths of people using learning disability or mental health services.

The review was based on evidence gathered during a national survey of all NHS providers, interviews and discussions with over 100 families, as well as information from NHS professionals and charities.

The Chief Inspector of Hospitals at the Care Quality Commission, Professor Sir Mike Richards said that CQC have often found that opportunities are being missed to learn from deaths so that action can be taken to prevent the same mistakes happening again. 

He further added that the families and caretakers are not properly involved in the investigation process and they are not treated with the respect they deserve.

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