Barrie Housby had a medical history that included frailty, Parkinson’s disease and macular degeneration. During a stay at Clifton Hospital he was known to be at high risk of falls and at the beginning of the nightshift on 12 July 2021, it was advised that he should be cared for on a one to one basis and not left unattended. During the shift, a member of staff allocated to monitor him left the bay to attend to other duties, and in this time Mr Housby left his bed and fell. He was transferred to a hospital emergency department but subsequently died on 13 July 2021 as a result of a traumatic subdural haemorrhage following a fall.
In his report, the Coroner Alan Wilson highlights the impact of staffing shortages at the Trust and their contribution to Mr Housby’s death, stating that this poses an ongoing risk to patient safety.
In this report, the Coroner states his concerns as follows:
- Hospital staff told the inquest that due to the reduction in staff numbers, they did not have enough time to carry out their expected tasks. As one healthcare assistant told the court, it was “impossible” to provide one to one nursing care to Mr Housby with the number of staff working on that shift.
- The court was told that since Mr Housby’s death, the problem of staffing shortages persists.
- Clifton hospital is a place to where patients – often elderly and vulnerable – are transferred for a period of rehabilitation, usually from an acute hospital setting. The usual aim is that following such rehabilitation, they can hopefully return to their homes, or perhaps be discharged to a suitable care home. However, the Coroner stated that these patients are being put at risk due to a shortage of staff.
- The Trust needs more support as they try to remedy this problem.
This report was sent to the Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group/Fylde & Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group and the Department of Health and Social Care.