Doncaster-based health trust launches probe in to 28 patient deaths

Jeremy Hunt
Jeremy Hunt

A Doncaster health trust has launched a review into the deaths of 28 patients with learning disabilities over the last four years.

According to new information, none of the deaths – which all occurred while the patients were under the care of Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust – had been investigated at the time.

The numbers were revealed following a Freedom of Information request by The Guardian newspaper.

Dr Deb Wildgoose, RDaSH director of nursing and quality said: “RDaSH provides lifelong care for people with learning disabilities, including end of life care.

“We received a Freedom of Information request earlier this year, which included a request for the total number of deaths concerning people with learning disabilities at our trust since 2011.

“We confirmed there have been a total number of 28 deaths between 2011 and 2015.

“However, none of these happened while the patient was being cared for in an RDaSH inpatient setting; they occurred within RDaSH community care and other acute hospital settings.

“The trust received notification of all of these deaths, which were the result of natural causes.

“The trust was satisfied at the time that in all cases the appropriate policies and procedures were followed.

“However, the trust is now revisiting these cases to check the robustness of actions taken at the time and should any further action be required in any of these cases, we would ensure the family of the service user is notified and kept fully up to date on any progress and outcome.”

RDaSH operates services in 200 locations across Rotherham, Doncaster, North Lincolnshire, North-East Lincolnshire and Manchester.

Around 115, 000 people use their services every year, which include mental health and learning disability services, community services and district nursing.

The figures have been revealed a week after Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt ordered a review into how deaths are investigated by NHS trusts.

Professor Mike Richards, England’s chief inspector of hospitals, said: “The findings from this investigation are very concerning.

“We’re keen to look at the new information in more detail.

“This will help us to plan the review that the Care Quality Commission is already committed to doing.”