Families consider legal action against DGH

Eastbourne DGH District General Hospital. January 3rd 2013 E01015Q
Eastbourne DGH District General Hospital. January 3rd 2013 E01015Q

Families from across Sussex are considering legal action against the DGH following claims of relatives suffering poor care and neglect.

Legal firm Leigh Day said it is representing 14 families, with the majority of claims involving the treatment and care of elderly patients and the cases related to treatment at the hospital between 2007 and 2013.

The cases include claims over a lack of hydration, nutrition, soiled bedding and lack of communication between family and staff.

The clients who are in contact with Leigh Day are from across Eastbourne and Sussex.

A spokesperson for the legal firm said in regards to the 14 cases two claims had been issued and had letters of claims (LOC) sent.

An LOC is where is where a letter is sent before the claim form is issued.

Three cases have seen letters of claims sent and nine of the claims are in the investigation stage.

Leigh Day said more than 70 per cent of the claims involve elderly patients.

Emma Jones from Leigh Day said, “Many people don’t realise that the Human Rights Act applies to everyone in this country and make it unlawful for any public body, such as a hospital to breach these rights.

“Food being left out of reach, a lack of drinking water, bed sores and staff who should not be in a caring profession are seen too frequently in the claims we are investigating for families in Sussex and across the country.”

In response a spokesperson for East Sussex Healthcare and NHS Trust, which runs the DGH, said the latest claim dated back to more than two years ago, adding, “The Trust’s legal department oversees the management of legal claims at every stage of the process. By their nature claims are often complex and involve a number of factors including nursing care.

“The Trust has referred four claims under the Human Rights Act to the NHS Litigation Authority.

“The Trust takes any claim or complaint seriously and ensures that each one is investigated and the learning from the investigation is shared across the whole organisation so services can be continuously improved.

“We continue to strive to improve outcomes and experience for our patients by listening to what they tell us and acting on it.

“In addition we monitor our services against a number of quality indicators and take immediate action if these raise any concerns.

“We are pleased that this has resulted in ongoing improvements in our performance and this is reflected in the comments made by our patients and our regulators.”