As long ago as 2001, conditions at Basildon were described as “Third World” by the Royal College of Nursing because of a shortage of beds. Then, in 2004, Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was fined for failing to control the risk of legionnaire’s disease after a patient contracted the illness — weeks later tests showed the legionella bacteria were still present.
Last year, more than 200 new mothers were offered HIV tests after the Trust discovered that a member of staff who had delivered their babies was HIV positive, and in April this year a three-year-old girl died in the paediatric ward after intravenous drip bags were found to have been sabotaged. In 2007, the Trust admitted being at fault in the case of a child who was left disabled after she was starved of oxygen when she was born at Basildon Hospital in 2001.
The Trust was not effectively decontaminating reusable equipment and A&E was not clean — 11 out of 12 trolley mattresses checked were stained and two had a foul odour. Half of the curtains that separated cubicles were soiled, some with blood.
There were few nurses with paediatric training, and no consultant with a paediatric interest.
Overall, nurses were not always conducting a full set of patient checks, which could result in failure to recognise a patient was deteriorating.
Complaints about nursing care included failure to monitor, feed and give drugs correctly, and twice as many patients suffered bed sores than the national average.
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