Doctor sent stroke patient home from Cumbria hospital

Hospital sign
Image caption A different trust is soon to take over the running of the two hospitals

Locum staffing at a troubled Cumbria health trust is being reviewed after a stroke victim was sent home because no specialist bed was available.

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust has also admitted three other "serious" errors at two of its hospitals during June.

The errors occurred at the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven and Carlisle's Cumberland Infirmary.

The trust is one of 11 put into special measures for major breaches of care.

According to a report by the trust board, the locum involved in the stroke incident in Carlisle no longer works at any of its hospitals.

The document also highlighted an incident in which a patient was operated on after mistakenly being given a local instead of a general anaesthetic, a "mass" that was missed by staff which should have been spotted on a chest X-ray and a consultant coughing during a procedure which was said to have "affected the clinical outcome".

'Open and transparent'

The trust said "significant" work had gone into improving procedures, including a review of locum appointments and second-checking of x-rays.

A spokesman added: "As part of our drive to be more open and transparent, details of serious complaints are reported to the public trust board each month, along with trends and themes which help us to identify particular problem areas.

"We would encourage any patient or relative who has a concern about their care to raise the issue with a member of staff at the earliest possible opportunity, to enable us to try to resolve the problem at the time."

The trust is one of 11 that was last month put put into "special measures" by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt for "fundamental breaches of care" following a review into trusts with higher than expected death rates.

The investigation, led by NHS medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, found that none of the hospitals investigated was providing "consistently high-quality care to patients".

The trust is in the process of handing over the running of the West Cumberland Hospital and Cumberland Infirmary to Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

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