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Poor training putting lives at risk?

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

The NHS in England, Wales and Northern Ireland has been warned that gaps in their training for patients with tracheostomies could be putting lives at risk. A tracheostomy is a procedure whereby a tube is inserted into the windpipe (trachea) of a patient to ensure that they are receiving oxygen.  This is used quite often to help patients move away from ventilators and get them out of critical care beds and into general wards. With this procedure becoming increasingly popular in hospitals, a recent report has found that major improvements need to be made to the care standards surrounding them.

The National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) found that care improvements had to be made urgently.  It found that care was sometimes “below what is safe and reasonable”.  With the finding that only 28% of hospitals trained staff to handle a blocked or dislodged tracheostomy airway, the report said that training needed to vastly improve.

“Fall below what is safe and reasonable”

With around 12,000 tracheostomies being carried out every year, the president of the Intensive Care Society, Mark Bellamy, said: “The ICS is concerned that levels of care available on general wards for patients with a tracheostomy in some cases fall below what is safe and reasonable.

While a lack of training was highlighted by the report, it also questioned the choice of tubes used for some patients, and raised concerns about the discharging of patients overnight.

Dr Andrew Goddard from the Royal College of Physicians said that the report had been very helpful in identifying areas for improvement. He agreed that training had to be improved immediately.

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