Bassetlaw Hospital under scrutiny after death of baby boy

Bassetlaw Hospital
By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter

Healthcare watchdogs say they are monitoring a Nottinghamshire hospital trust after a coroner found its failings contributed to the death of an 11-month-old baby boy.

Baby Jacob Owczarek died at Bassetlaw Hospital in April last year, after reporting to the site on two previous occasions with sepsis and acute kidney infection pyelonephritis.

An inquest report into his death found the hospital failed to conduct a paediatric sepsis screening test which, if used, could have prevented his death.

Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which manages the site, admitted its systems were not “sufficiently robust” in managing young Jacob’s care.

An apology was issued to his family last week.

In her preventing future deaths report, Assistant Coroner for Nottinghamshire Dr Elizabeth Didcock found a lack of compliance with the screening had been a repeated “safety issue” over the past five years.

It had appeared, she said, in separate inquest reports from coroners in both Nottingham and Doncaster.

This led to a request for the Care Quality Commission to review the trust’s compliance with the screening tool, ordering a visit once hospital bosses have provided evidence of preventative action.

And now the CQC has confirmed it is currently monitoring the trust, with inspectors already in “close contact” with hospital bosses.

Dr Didcock’s report, a CQC spokesperson says, will be used as part of the ongoing process.

CQC inspectors have been in close contact with Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust before and during the coroner’s process in relation to the death of Jacob Owczarek.

“They will use the information raised in the coroner’s report as part of their ongoing monitoring of the trust.”

Reviewing young Jacob’s death, Dr Didcock revealed the baby had been presented to the hospital on two previous occasions, showing symptoms of the kidney infection.

The infection was initially treated, but the baby was not prescribed continued antibiotics to help reduce the risk of further illness.

During his third visit to Bassetlaw Hospital in April last year, he died.

This, the coroner viewed, was contributed to by “systemic failings” at the hospital in overseeing his care. Neglect was also involved in his death, she added.

The hospital trust said last week it has already taken actions to ensure Jacob’s death is not repeated, including a detailed investigation.

Changes include upgrading digital systems to bring in mandatory paediatric sepsis screening, and implementing automatic observations for inpatients to identify a potential sepsis score.

David Purdue, chief nurse and deputy chief executive at the trust, added: “We acknowledge our processes were not sufficiently robust and accept this is likely to have made a difference to Jacob and his family. For this, I am very sorry.”

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