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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

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Over 2,000 falls in two Cumbrian hospitals

More than 2,000 people have suffered falls at north Cumbria’s two main hospitals in two years.

The figures were revealed in a response from health minister Simon Burns to Workington MP Tony Cunningham.

Mr Cunningham had demanded more information after it was revealed that four people had died at the hospitals after suffering falls.

In total 1,058 falls were reported to the National Patient Safety Agency in 2010, followed by 1,067 in 2011.

The deaths, which happened at the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven and Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary during September and October last year, were revealed in documents leaked to BBC Radio Cumbria.

A Freedom of Information request by the radio station revealed that, in September and October 2011, 29 people were injured in falls compared with nine in the same period of 2010.

Injuries ranged from fractures to bumps, grazes, cuts and bruises.

But the figures sent to Mr Cunningham reveal that far more people suffered falls overall.

In September 2010 there were 71 falls, with 80 the next month.

Eighty-four falls were reported in September 2011, with 84 in October 2011.

Mr Cunningham said he was concerned about the figures and would like to see more done to reduce the numbers.

A hospitals trust spokeswoman said the increase did not necessarily mean the number of actual falls was rising, as the National Patient Safety Agency encouraged trusts to report all incidents.

She said: “The NPSA is regularly seeing an increase in incidents reported year on year, which is actually a sign of a culture that is growing in awareness of patient safety.”

Improvements had been made to falls assessments and follow-ups. Information boards about falls risks had been put up to raise awareness among patients, staff and relatives, and refresher training had been given to staff.

Each fall resulting in a fracture is investigated and formally reviewed to ensure lessons are shared, and the trust is also focusing on its work with dementia patients to reduce their fall risks.

Mr Cunningham said: “I welcome the work being done but much more needs to be done to make sure the number of falls is reduced to as low as possible.”

He said he would write again to trust bosses to make sure that was done.

Have your say

How sad this story is. An elderly relative of mine in WCH recovering from minor surgery and due to be discharged, fell on her way to the bathroom. She actually fell due to a heap of zimmers being left by the foot of her bed and worse than this, she lay for many moments before being found and helped into her bed. I questioned a nurse who said she was just fine. Upon her release, she was seen by her doctor who diagnosed muscle injury to her shoulder and hip. It took her 6 weeks to recover. Assuming this to be a rare event, I never took it any further but now I wish I had. The ward in particular was under staffed and frankly the nurses had more time to stand in the corridor arguing, than tending the elderly patients. Granted, at visiting times they probably do have free time, but it sets such a bad impression. There are some wonderful and dedicated nurses - but they weren't there when my relative needed them.

Posted by Mary on 19 May 2012 at 16:11

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