Margaret Gleeson: Coroner to write to government amid weekend staffing fears

Margaret Gleeson Image copyright Family
Image caption Margaret Gleeson died two days after a routine hernia operation

A coroner has vowed to raise concerns about weekend staffing levels at a hospital where a grandmother died after a routine operation.

Margaret Gleeson, 70, died two days after a hernia operation at Wigan's Royal Albert Edward Infirmary in October 2015.

Concluding an inquest into her death, Simon Jones ruled out neglect and said she died due to a rare complication.

But he said he wanted to highlight concerns raised during the hearing.

Mr Jones said he would write to both the hospital and the Department of Health about the issue of patient safety at weekends.

However, Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust said it did not believe weekend staffing levels were to blame.

Image copyright Family
Image caption Margaret Gleeson, pictured with her family

"The trust does not believe that Mrs Gleeson's death was the result of any difference between the resources available and services provided at the weekend and those provided on weekdays," a spokesman said.

"The trust already complies with national guidelines in relation to weekend working and is actively involved in an ongoing pilot scheme investigating the possible benefits which might be derived from seven day working."

The trust said its own investigation had revealed shortcomings in "some aspects" of Mrs Gleeson's care, for which it offered its "sincere apologies".

The inquest, sitting at Bolton Coroner's Court, heard medics believed Mrs Gleeson's operation had been a success, but it was later discovered that internal tissue had been torn during the procedure.

Her condition then deteriorated.

When questioned about weekend staffing during the hearing, the trust's Dr Sadasivam Loganathan agreed it was "a major concern".

'Sufficient concern'

He said: "You don't give the same attention as the patient deserves."

Mrs Gleeson's son, Peter Gleeson, said: "I think if she'd had the operation on a Monday or any other time in the week it would have possibly been a different outcome."

Her daughter Julie Barnes added: "The surgeon himself said if she'd have been reviewed and it had been picked up on the Saturday, it would have been a totally different outcome."

Stephen Jones, of Leigh Day solicitors, said the family were "disappointed" the coroner did not find neglect had been a factor.

"Whether the different weekend working practice within the trust had any affect in Mrs Gleeson's case we don't really know," he said.

"But what we can say is that sufficient concern was expressed by the clinicians at Wigan to cause patient concern."

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