YOUR LETTERS: Not always a ‘duty of candour’ with the NHS

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The media is full of stories about the unprecedented pressures on the NHS and particularly in our hospitals. Overcrowded hospitals can of course be more dangerous for patients and unfortunately we have been here before. However, unlike some earlier years, ministers have made it clear that waiting time targets must not come before safety. In addition there is now a ‘duty of candour’ on the NHS to be open and transparent in their dealings with patients.

However it has not always been so. Research carried out by Cure the NHS, with the support of Prof Brian Jarman, 
eminent health analyst, showed that Lincolnshire’s hospitals were some of the most overcrowded in the country from late 2009 until spring 2013 when ULHT was put into special measures. This overcrowding will have placed some patients at increased risk. Legal advice is clear that if you or a relative came to harm during that period, as a result of overcrowding, you may be able to seek legal redress against the NHS.

More details are on the Cure the NHS Lincolnshire website.

Whilst the information there relates particularly to late 2009 to spring 2013 it does also give patients, who may be facing treatment over the next few months, an indication of the sort of problems which can be experienced in overcrowded hospitals.

Before you commence treatment it should be explained to you if overcrowding could compromise the quality of your care and add to risk. From investigations, that has not always happened in the past and Cure the NHS are seeking to publicise the issue to make sure that it does happen in the future.

We all recognise that many hospital procedures are not without risk. The NHS, however, has a duty to patients to be clear about both the risks and benefits of treatment.

If readers have had poor care in the past I would urge them to look at the information on Cure the NHS Lincolnshire’s website.

Finally, of course, our hospitals in Lincolnshire are some of the worst funded in the country.

It is about time our hard working NHS staff had the resources to provide, consistently, the quality of care they and we would like.