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Deaths at Basildon Hospital under investigation
Monday 30 November 2009
Four people with a learning disability among those who died
An Essex NHS trust is being investigated after its mortality rate was found to be nearly 40% higher than the national average for emergency admissions.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) last week exposed serious failings at Basildon and Thurrock NHS trust. It said that a lack of hygiene, inconsistent nursing and the absence of leadership may have led to the unnecessary deaths of more than 400 patients.
As part of its investigation, the CQC is reviewing the cases of four people with a learning disability who died while in the trust's care. The cases were referred to the CQC by Mencap.
The deaths include 20-year-old Kyle Flack, who had profound and multiple learning disabilities. Kyle (pictured) was admitted to Basildon Hospital due to complications with his gastric feeding tube. With no overnight monitoring, Kyle was found the following morning with his head stuck between the bars of his hospital bed. He had died of asphyxiation.
Kyle's mother said that, "despite the challenges Kyle faced, he led a happy and fulfilled life. The very people responsible for his care and well-being failed him. We are utterly devastated by the loss of Kyle".
The CQC will look at information from the trust on the actions it has taken following the four deaths. Checks will be made on whether recommendations from the health ombudsman's ‘Six Lives' report on the treatment of patients with a learning disability have been put in place.
‘Six Lives' was published in response to Mencap's 2007 ‘Death by indifference' report, which highlighted the deaths of six people with a learning disability who died in NHS care.
Mencap's chief executive, Mark Goldring, said: "The horrific failings at Basildon Hospital show that lessons are still not being learnt by some health professionals and highlight an appalling catalogue of neglect of people with a learning disability.
"These deaths we know are just the tip of the iceberg. Health professionals need to put existing policy into practice and lessons need to be learnt so that people with a learning disability do not continue to die at the hands of the NHS."
Read more from the Care Quality Commission
Read Mencap's ‘Death by indifference' report