In a new study by the Care Quality Commission, reported in The Times last week, it is made clear that some NHS Trusts need to bring about cultural change in order to improve their responses to patient deaths.

Although evidence was found that some Trusts have implemented change to improve investigations into patient deaths and the way in which staff deal with the families of those patients, other Trusts seem to have made little progress.

CQC’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Ted Baker, commented that “our review indicates that problems with the culture of some organisations is preventing sufficient progress….I urge NHS Trusts to use the examples of good practice highlighted in this report to help identify the key drivers to improve learning from deaths, to build on the progress they have made so far and to accelerate the changes needed.”

Some hospitals were found to be reluctant to engage with bereaved families for reasons such as lack of staff training or fear of the repercussions on professional careers.

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