Birmingham & Black Country

Walsall Manor Hospital admits three patients died after falls

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Media captionWalsall Healthcare NHS Trust admitted numbers of falls remained "unacceptably high".

Three frail patients have died after falls at Walsall Manor Hospital in the past three months.

In a letter seen by the BBC, nursing staff at the hospital were told in May preventive measures for high-risk patients did not appear to be in place.

Nurses now need to have evidence in place to show they have complied with the rules over beds and alarms.

Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust admitted numbers of falls remained "unacceptably high".

Nurses audited

Hospital staff were told on 28 May that deaths had occurred in "the past few weeks".

The letter said that at-risk patients must be assumed not to be on low-level beds, with appropriate alarms or staffing to support them because this was not documented in their notes.

Due to the seriousness of the issue, the trust warned staff it would be auditing the nurses' compliance against the hospital's falls policy.

Nigel Speed's 83-year-old father, William, fell four times at the hospital before his death in May 2011.

Mr Speed said: "It does not surprise me that this is still going on.

"There were not enough staff and the care my father received was appalling."

Staffing 'uneven'

The hospital had high death rates in 2010 and 2011, but the mortality rate was said to have begun to fall in 2012.

The Mott Macdonald report commissioned to look into death rates at the hospital identified staffing was uneven across areas of the hospital.

The hospital has since invested more in elderly care consultants.

The trust's chief executive, Richard Kirby, said that the hospital had taken the matter very seriously and that is why the letter had been sent.

"As a result, we have not had any further falls which have resulted in a serious incident since then," Mr Kirby said.

He added one of the falls had been reviewed by the coroner and the hospital found not to have been at fault.

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