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Medical negligence: Families of mistreated patients to sue hospital trusts

The families of patients who died after being neglected by medical staff at two hospitals have announced that they will sue the NHS Trusts they feel are responsible.

Lawyers for eighteen families say that they will commence legal action on the basis that the treatment their relatives received breached their human rights.

The two hospitals concerned are the Queen's Hospital in Romford and the Eastbourne District Hospital in East Sussex. In a statement, both hospitals said that they had taken steps to improve the quality of care offered to their patients.

All eighteen families will be represented by specialist human rights lawyer Emma Jones, of Leigh Day & Co, based in Lond on. She explained that the patients were left without water, were often not fed and in some cases were not given appropriate medication on time.

"There are many care issues and we're talking about people that are often quite elderly; they are vulnerable. I can understand completely why relatives of their loved ones would believe that such poor treatment and care might have contributed to their loved one's death," Ms Jones told the BBC.

The announcement comes in the same week as the inquiry into care at the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust was published. The inquiry revealed "truly shocking" levels of care and criticised the provision of health care on every single level.

In the Mid-Staffordshire case, more than 400 patients are thought to have died as a result of substandard care. There are 119 families of relatives who died being represented by Ms Jones at Leigh Day & Co in their own legal actions.

"At the end of the day, if you go into the hospital, you expect to be treated with respect and dignity. I thought we had gone back to the 1800s. It's not the sort of care you expect in this time," said Maria Lloyd, the daughter of one of the patients who died at Queen's Hospital in Romford.

Ronald Roast died of lung cancer at the hospital in October 2011. His daughter said her father was not washed of taken to the toilet for four days and was not hydrated or given antibiotics for 12 hours.

A spokesman for the trust said they had taken allegations of substandard care very seriously.

Source:

Families plan legal action over care (BBC News)