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UK's NHS poor care allows 10k avoidable deaths per year

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An elderly patient in a wheelchair at a hospital in England.

An NHS regulatory has claimed that around 10,000 patients are killed each year by the “dangerously” variable treatment by hospital and doctors in England.

According to a report published in The Guardian on Tuesday, Care Quality Commission (CQC) chair David Prior warned that many patients receive poor care which leads to many thousands of avoidable patient deaths each year.

In the article, Prior claimed that “any assessment of the National Health Service (NHS) can only have one possible conclusion,” and that is care standards are sometimes dangerously highly variable.

“We have some outstanding hospitals, we have some inadequate hospitals. And the variation in primary care between different GP practices is probably even greater,” he said.

CQC inspectors visited 40 hospitals in England since March, grading five with the lowest ranking of “inadequate”.

While explaining the risk caused by the NHS care quality variation, Prior said not only does it matter that anywhere between “3,000 and 10,000” people die avoidably each year, but it “also matters because variation strikes at the heart of the NHS and its core principle that everyone should receive good quality care free at the point of delivery. In fact they do not.”

Prior’s estimate is actually lower than the one by British Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, which puts the annual deaths caused by NHS staff at around 12,000

Hunt said “utterly, utterly shocking [things] are happening week in, week out in our NHS”, for example feeding tubes are inserted into patient’s lungs instead of their stomach.

Established in 2009, the CQC is a non-departmental public body of the British government, formed to regulate and inspect health and social care services in England.


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