BASILDON Hospital is facing hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation payouts after a legal firm lodged dozens of claims to the trust.
Specialist solicitors Leigh Day has made 64 claims to Basildon Hospital this year from as far back as 2003 as more new cases come to light following the fiasco at Staffordshire Hospitals.
It compares to a total of 57 negligence claims made against the hospital from all solicitors in 2012/13. Leigh Day said the total number of claims against the hospital that year could be even higher.
Claims include patients being left in soiled bedding, delays in treatment and pain relief, and delays in referrals.
In some cases patients allegedly died as a result of the hospital’s actions.
The majority of cases refer to patients aged 60 and over, but one involves a patient under 18.
Most have come to light from 2012, with Leigh Day dealing with three times as many claims during that year than any other.
Emma Jones, solicitor in Leigh Day’s human rights department, said: “We consider these issues to be human rights issues as well as negligent.
“The failure to ensure someone has enough to eat and drink, be given medication and being taken to the bathroom are human rights.”
Leigh Day is dealing with 225 cases from 39 hospitals and 37 hospital trusts across the country.
The number of claims relating to Basildon Hospital account for more than a quarter of all cases being dealt with, and nearly double any other trust. Barking Havering and Redbridge Trust, which has the second highest number of cases against it, faces 34 compensation claims.
Miss Jones added: “It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why Basildon Hospital has so many more cases against it than other trusts. I think it suggests standards have been noticeably low for a longer period of time.”
Basildon Hospital and the NHS Litigation Authority refused to say the total number of active compensation claims against the hospital.
RELATIVES of patients who died at the hands of Basildon Hospital have estimated the trust may need to pay out up to £1million in compensation.
While solicitors and Basildon Hospital refused to put a figure on the 64 compensation claims made against the hospital, victims expect the hospital could be out of anything from £60,000 to £1million.
Christine Papalabropoulos, whose daughter Tina died in 2009 of pneumonia, has already been awarded £3,000 compensation from the Health Service Ombudsman – £2,000 from the hospital trust and £1,000 from South Essex Emergency Doctors’ Surgeries. But she is one of 64 who have launched a private compensation claim.
Christine, 57, of Harris Drive, Wickford, said: “It’s not about the money, but about the anger you feel towards the hospital. If you told me there were this many claimants five years ago I would be surprised but nothing surprises me now.
“We are human beings, not a slab of meat, but we are not being treated like human beings.”
Dan Chapple, who founded Cure the NHS after his mother Pam died of a brain haemorrhage, said: “It’s very hard to tell howmuch the hospital will have to pay. It could be anything from £60,000 to £1million. It depends on how many dependents the victim has, how much of their working life is left, and howmuch of a mess the hospital has made.
“I hope Leigh Day doesn’t try to settle out of court for silence, otherwise the problems won’t come to light, will be swept under the carpet, and changes won’t be made.”
BASILDON Hospital had to pay out more than £5million in compensation claims last year.
NHS insurers paid a total of £5,081,234 in 2012/13 for claims against the hospital.
Hospital bosses said the figure is close to the national average.
It paid a total of £2.625million in damages, £1.997million in claimants’ legal costs and £457,894 to cover its own legal fees.
In total, 57 negligence claims were made against Basildon Hospital. This year 64 have been brought against the trust by Leigh Day alone.
BASILDON Hospital has been praised for improving standards of care.
Keogh inspectors, who first visited the hospital in May last year, said the hospital was addressing levels of staffing and concerns about patient care after they inspected the site again in November.
Hospital bosses have agreed to round table discussions with Leigh Day about all their cases in a bid to save legal costs on both sides.
A spokesman for the hospital said: “The trust has received a list from Leigh Day solicitors and we are currently in contact with them regarding a number of these cases.
“We have not received any similar joint actions from other solicitors.
“We would encourage anybodywho is unhappywith their care, or the care provided to a relative, to contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service so issues can be quickly addressed and we can learn from any mistakes.”