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Trusts struggle with growing backlog of uninvestigated incidents

The backlog of serious clinical incidents that need investigating is building up throughout the NHS, due to the impact of coronavirus and emergency service pressures.

Concerns have been raised by commissioners in some areas over the delays. Meanwhile, patients and families who have been harmed are waiting longer to see their cases resolved and the organisations involved are not learning the lessons taught by care failures as quickly as they should. 

Staff redeployment or absences due to COVID-19 are among the reasons why many investigations are being delayed. As result, trusts are attempting to recruit additional investigators to manage their backlogs.

Tina Ivanov, the trust’s director of quality governance, said: “Learning from serious incidents when they occur is an important part of our improvement culture.

“We are increasing the number of trained investigators at the trust and have brought in additional resource to help complete the outstanding investigations. The reasons for the increase in outstanding serious incidents include staff absences and clinical pressures.”

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 27 September 2021

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A worrying story. Really frustrating that it is behind a paywall. 

Many areas of concern here that need open discussion in order to lead to learning. It's not just the number of investigations that matters, it's the quality of the investigations, and the way they are conducted. This problem is an opportunity if it is brought fully into the open, looked at from all angles and (most importantly ) patients, relatives and carers are fully involved.  

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