PERFORMANCE: A patient’s life might have been saved if care at the Sherwood Forest Hospitals Foundation Trust had not been so poor, according to the Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman.

The damning verdict by the PHSO follows an investigation into the death of a patient who was admitted to the hospital’s emergency department in August 2010.

The PHSO found the “care and treatment provided to the patient was so poor that it constitutes service failure.”

It added: “As a consequence there may have been a lost opportunity to provide emergency surgical intervention which may have saved the patient’s life.”

It also criticised the hospital’s response to the complaint saying it was “not customer focused, open and accountable.”

The patient brought to the hospital’s A&E and then later transferred to the trust’s surgical assessment unit, where the patient subsequently died. The cause of death was found to be cardiac arrest, hypovolaemia and intra abdominal haemorrhage.

Following the Ombudsman’s formal ruling, the trust has been ordered to write to the complainant “to offer an open, honest awknowledgement of the service failure and maladministration” identified by the PHSO with an apology for the impact the failings had.

The trust will also have to pay the complainant £2,000 in recognition of the “injustices that the trust’s failings have caused.”

It has also got to draw up an action plan within three months to show it has learned from the incident and has implemented changes to prevent a reoccurrence.

Details of what happened to the patient have not been released as the PHSO reports are confidential.

Yetunde Akintewe, spokesman for the PHSO, said: “We are unable to comment on the details of individual cases, as we have a legal duty to investigate in private.

“Our latest figures show we received 37 complaints regarding the Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust from April 2010 to March 2011.”

Martin Wakeley, chief executive of Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We have offered our sincere condolences and our unreserved apologies to the partner of the patient.

“We have given our absolute reassurance that all of the Ombudsman’s recommendations are being carefully reviewed and considered.

“Following on from that we will put together a detailed action plan so that lessons can be learned about both clinical care and complaints handling so that our future patients and their families do not experience anything similar.”