Eastbourne DGH comes under legal pressure

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A LEADING human rights lawyer is investigating the DGH on the back of its disappointing inspection by a health watchdog.

Last year the Care Quality Commission (CQC) criticised the trust which runs the hospital in Eastbourne after its inspections team unearthed a catalogue of failings and concerns over patient care.

A follow-up visit then found that while some improvements had been made, there were areas which were still falling well short of what is acceptable – particularly in the field of how vulnerable people were being dealt with.

Now a lawyer who previously conducted the largest group action against a hospital on behalf of patients and their families has said she wants to hear from people who may have suffered similar conditions at the DGH.

Emma Jones, from the human rights team at law firm Leigh Day & Co, started legal action against Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust on behalf of more than 100 patients and families after a report estimated that as many as 1,200 people had died unnecessarily at Stafford hospital.

She is now turning her attention to the DGH.

Ms Jones has cited the CQC’s 55-page report and subsequent warnings handed out to management at the trust as evidence that there may be cases for her and her team to take up.

Among the more major concerns the CQC highlighted surrounded consent to treatment, the general care and welfare of patients especially vulnerable patients, staffing levels and the trust’s ability to effectively monitor the quality of the services it provides.

The trust has until the end of this month to convince the watchdog that it has done enough to turn things round .

Chief executive Darren Grayson has repeatedly told the Herald he is confident enough improvements will have been made by the March 31 deadline.

In fact, he has gone on record as saying that by the time of the second inspection’s report was published, an entire raft of positive steps had already been introduced.

However, Ms Jones is still keen to hear from anyone locally who may have fallen foul of shoddy treatment or care.

The former head of legal at Mind, the national mental health charity, said, “It is extraordinary that the CQC have had to step in and threaten serious repercussions.

”What is most troubling is the concern voiced by the CQC regarding the treatment of vulnerable patients, those who cannot help themselves and instead rely upon the care and compassion from those whose job it is to directly or indirectly provide care.”

Ms Day can be contacted on 020 7650 1200 or by emailing ejones@leighday.co.uk.