• Total of 277 serious incidents recorded at Isle of Wight Trust in 2018 and 2019
  • Trust says rising figures due to changes to way serious incidents are reported
  • Delay in treatment was most common serious incident cited by trust

One of the country’s smallest trusts recorded 277 serious incidents over a two-year period, HSJ can reveal.

Delays in treatment, missed diagnoses, adverse media coverage and “suboptimal” care were among the hundreds of serious incidents reported at the struggling Isle of Wight Trust from the start of 2018 and up to November 2019.

There were also two never events in 2019 — a “wrong site” surgery and an incident in which a patient was mistakenly connected to an air flow meter, rather than an oxygen supply.

The trust said the level of incidents did not neccessarily reflect poor care, and did not mean patients had come to harm.

The figures, released to HSJ under the Freedom of Information Act, show a major increase in such events from 2016 and 2017, during which the trust recorded 143 serious incidents.

A total of 338 serious incidents were actually reported over 2018 and 2019, although 59 were downgraded following a review, according to a spokesman.

The most common reason the trust gave for a serious incident was delay in treatment — 22 per cent of the 277 cases — while 16 per cent were related to unexpected deaths.

“Suboptimal care of a deteriorating patient” made up 11 per cent of incidents, while slips, trips and falls accounted for 7 per cent.

The spokesman added the number of incidents reported often increases during particularly pressured periods, including winter. 

There were also changes to the process of reporting serious incidents at the trust, following the introduction of a new executive team in 2018,  which led to an increase in the number of events reported. The changes aimed to standardise the process across the organisation, according to the trust.

The spokesman said: “We are working hard to improve the quality of the services that we provided and our teams are encouraged to report all incidents.

“Reporting a serious incident doesn’t necessarily mean that there were problems in the care provided or that patients came to harm — but as a learning organisation we will always look to see if there are things that we can learn.”

The trust was placed in special measures in April 2017 after it was rated “inadequate” by the Care Quality Commission due to “significant” concerns over patient safety. It was upgraded to “requires improvement” in September 2019, but remains in special measures. 

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