Another Investigation Into Liverpool Community Health Trust

Nicky Broyd

June 06, 2019

A second independent review into serious failings at Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust between 2010 and 2014 has been commissioned by Health Minister Stephen Hammond.

In a written statement to Parliament he wrote: "This will not be a re-run of the previous independent review, but it will draw upon its findings as well as the new evidence identified by Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust in its response to the recommendations of the original report."

Fresh evidence and newly-revealed historic incidents of serious harm will be part of the new investigation which is due to report by the end of next year.

First Investigation

The first review into Liverpool Community Health Trust was conducted by Dr Bill Kirkup.

He found a "dysfunctional" trust with inexperienced management who introduced over-ambitious cost cutting programmes as part of an attempt to gain foundation trust status. He reported in February 2018 that patient safety had been put at risk, leading to serious lapses in care and widespread harm to patients.

The report concluded that a culture of bullying meant staff were afraid to speak up and safety incidents were ignored.

Mersey Care Review

Following publication of that review Liverpool Community Health was disbanded. Its services were taken over by Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust.

It conducted its own review and uncovered 43,000 incidents, of which 17,000 were related to patient safety.

New Investigation 

The new investigation will be established by NHS England and NHS Improvement and will again be chaired by Dr Kirkup, supported by an independent expert oversight panel.

It will be drawing on the new evidence identified by Mersey Care and will engage with families of former patients and affected staff.

The new investigation says it aims to fully investigate any serious patient safety incidents that were not reported or adequately investigated by Liverpool Community Health and will also undertake a series of historic mortality reviews.

No Stone Left Unturned 

Mersey Care has welcomed the new investigation, which Health Minister, Stephen Hammond says will "make sure no stone is left unturned".

He said in a press statement: "We owe it to the patients and families affected by substandard care in Liverpool Community Health to establish the full extent of events and give them the answers they need.

Rosie Cooper, Labour MP for West Lancashire said: "I have long called for this independent review of the systemic / systematic failings at Liverpool Community Health, and for a genuinely independent review that has the scope to delve deeper into understanding these failings than the first report done by Dr Bill Kirkup. 150 deaths and 43,000 incidents have been identified but never fully investigated and brought to a close. It is important that those responsible are held to account.

“Patients and staff of Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust need certainty, stability and assurances that the harm caused by past failings will not be repeated."

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