Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Families 'shocked' at Isle of Wight NHS death report failures

Anthony Turnidge Image copyright Sue McCamley
Image caption An investigation into the death of Anthony Turnidge was a "dog's dinner", a coroner said

Bereaved families have accused an NHS trust of failing to properly investigate the deaths of its patients.

The Isle of Wight NHS Trust's report into the death of Anthony Turnidge, 88, who died after a fall in hospital was branded a "dog's dinner" by a coroner.

Another inquest was halted after the coroner heard a report had been written by a law graduate with a lack of medical expertise.

The trust said it had a backlog of serious incident investigations.

Isle of Wight Coroner Caroline Sumeray said recent reports by the trust had not been robust and were often late.

The trust is currently rated "inadequate" and is in special measures.

Image copyright Mark Pilbeam
Image caption Anthony Turnidge died after a fall at St Mary's Hospital

Mr Turnidge died after a fall while he was a patient at St Mary's Hospital in Newport.

The trust's report was a "dog's dinner" and had "incorrect, inadequate information", Ms Sumeray told an inquest in March.

She said the trust had opened the inquiry 13 months after the death, which was "far too late".

Mr Turnidge's daughter Sue McCamley said she was disappointed the investigator originally examined other circumstances and not the fatal fall itself.

She said: "That was quite shocking because it was almost like the thing had been fudged."

Image copyright Carl Coulsin
Image caption The coroner said Nick Baker's death was investigated by an inexperienced law graduate

In a second case in March, the coroner halted an inquest into the death of 33-year-old psychiatric patient Nick Baker after hearing the report had been written by a law graduate with a lack of medical expertise.

Ms Sumeray summoned Isle of Wight NHS Trust chief executive Maggie Oldham to attend the hearing.

The coroner said: "I am tired of being fobbed off with people that are second best doing this."

Mr Baker's father Carl Coulsin said it was "beyond belief" that the report's author had only had one day's training in serious incident investigations.

Sara Plowman, whose 20-year-old son Jamie died after his release from hospital in 2018, said the report on his death was "not coherent".

All three families said the trust had not disclosed the reports to them at an early stage, in a breach of its duty of candour.

Image copyright Sara Plowman
Image caption A report on the death of Jamie Plowman was "not coherent", his mother said

The Isle of Wight NHS Trust said it had a backlog of investigations due to "a number of historical cases".

"When things go wrong it is absolutely essential that we investigate properly and learn the lessons that will prevent mistakes from happening in the first place," it said in a statement.

"Our patients and their families rightly expect better, so we have overhauled the way we manage these cases and are making good progress clearing the backlog."

In March, the NHS trust admitted "failing terribly" by not informing the coroner promptly of serious incident investigations.

The coroner fined the trust's chief executive £500 over the late disclosures.

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