Hereford & Worcester

Alexandra Hospital: Relatives consider legal action

Relatives of elderly patients at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch are considering taking legal action.

Leigh Day and Co Solicitors said the action being sought was largely as a result of a Care Quality Commission report published earlier this year.

A spokesman from the firm said evidence was being gathered from 17 families, for cases ranging from 2002 to 2011.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said the matter had been referred to its solicitors.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) found the hospital had failed to meet legal standards for giving elderly patients enough food and drink and treating them in a dignified way.

The report highlighted one example where a member of staff from the trust said they had to prescribe water on medical charts to ensure patients got enough to drink.

'Very distressing'

Emma Jones from Leigh Day and Co said it was early days.

"The first steps are really getting to the heart of things - I've met with a number of families in Redditch and taken some details [including] witness statements, which is obviously very distressing.

"We then need to collate all the evidence, which will include getting individual medical records and cross-referencing witness statements with medical records."

She said that many cases of a similar nature were settled out of court.

The director of nursing and midwifery at the trust, Helen Blanchard, said: "The matter has been referred to our solicitors; we are therefore unable to comment further on individual cases.

"Staff across the trust have worked incredibly hard over the last few months to ensure that issues raised by the CQC were rectified and a number of improvement measures have been put in place.

"Whilst we have been fully compliant with CQC standards relating to dignity and nutrition since June, I would like to reassure patients that we continue to prioritise this area of work."

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