Russells Hall A&E safety must improve, investigation finds
Russells Hall's A&E department must be made safer, experts have ruled after an investigation revealed failings in care for eight people who later died.
Independent experts were brought in to examine deaths that occurred in the troubled emergency department after concerns were raised by the health watchdog.
However, while inspectors said better care should have been given in eight cases, they found their deaths could not have been prevented.
Another 221 deaths were looked into where no concerns were raised.
Russells Hall bosses said they welcomed the findings of the report, which found deaths investigated in A&E were not preventable, and pledged to learn lessons from cases where care was not good enough.
Despite clearing the hospital over the deaths, iQ4U, which carried out the investigation, said "cultural changes were required within the ED (emergency department) to facilitate a safer environment".
Experts examined 169 deaths between December 2017 and June 2018 as well as 60 deaths at random which occurred during a full year.
iQ4U said it found eight cases where it had "concerns over the care delivered during their time in the department" and that the Dudley Group NHS Trust, which runs Russells Hall, would now investigate the "possible deficiencies in care and what lessons to be learned and responded to".
The body said issues included errors in assessment or diagnosis, delays in diagnosis at times of high workload and demand and appropriate observation of patients with sepsis and abdominal pains.
A greater focus on sepsis management is also needed, according to the report, which said cases where there was judged to be poor care rose to seven per cent.
Some patients had to be treated in A&E at busy times due to a lack of specialists and delays in transferring them to a ward, the report said.
Half of the deaths investigated occurred within an hour of arrival at A&E. The 'vast majority' were 'irretrievable' and many 'should have been dealt with in an out-of-hospital setting', the report said.
iQ4U said hospital bosses needed to focus on improving the flow of patients to ensure more beds are available and that better leadership was needed in A&E.
Trust chief executive Diane Wake said: "I would firstly like to offer my heartfelt condolences to all families who have suffered the loss of a loved one and to thank those families whose loved ones’ care formed part of the review.
"We are absolutely committed to delivering the very best care to our patients and for those patients whose death is inevitable, it is paramount that they die with dignity and compassion."