Hospitals investigate baby’s death and sexual assault claims

THE death of a child and an allegation of sexual assault by a healthcare professional were among seven serious incidents reported in the region’s hospitals last month.

A recent meeting of the East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust on Wednesday lifted the lid on the complaints, which were reported to have taken place either at Eastbourne’s DGH or the trust’s other main hospital, The Conquest in Hastings.

Other serious incidents included an allegation of restraint by healthcare professionals, a heart attack caused by the failure of specialist equipment, and patients with pressure ulcers – wounds which are particularly prone to infection.

All the incidents remain under investigation and the total number of reported in 2011 was up on the previous year, from 47 to 71.

So far just 27 of the incidents for 2011 have been officially ‘closed’.

Meanwhile, the man at the helm of the DGH is hoping a report due out next month will show the hospital has made ‘substantial progress’ following the damning verdict from inspectors last year.

A routine inspection at the beginning of 2011 revealed a catalogue of criticism, with staff at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust slammed in a host of areas.

Among them were complaints about the lack of dignity for some patients and the hospital was also roundly condemned for its handling of elderly visitors.

Since then, the trust’s chief executive Darren Grayson believes widespread improvements have been made and hopes a follow up report will prove that.

Speaking at a meeting of the trust’s board on Wednesday, Mr Grayson said, “I think this will show we have made substantial progress, but I think we still have a way to go.”

He added, “We are on a journey. There are no quick fixes.”