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Legal team takes on 14 families with complaints against Eastbourne Hospital
Fourteen families are considering legal action against Eastbourne District General Hospital, saying relatives have suffered poor care and neglect.
Most of the cases being drawn up against Eastbourne District General Hospital involve elderly patients.
The cases are being co-ordinated by legal firm Leigh Day and Co and refer to people who have been treated at the hospital over the past seven years.
The company is investigating whether the Human Rights Act was breached in each of the cases.
Legal action has been formally launched in two cases while preliminary letters of claims have been sent in five others.
The claims made by the other seven families are still being looked at by the firm.
Senior human rights lawyer for the firm Emma Jones said: “The cases mainly involve older patients and cover issues involving basic care.
“Subjects raised include lack of food, fluids, people left in soiled bedding and pain management.
“Elderly patients often have other underlying and complex problems and therefore need a higher level of care.
“We have been contacted by families who have some concerns about that care.”
Mrs Jones said the firm was currently dealing with complaints made against 37 trusts around the country.
She said: “People turn to legal action as a final resort. Speaking generally, many have tried going through the formal complaints process but have not been satisfied with the answers they have received.
“It is more about trying to get explanations, answers and apologies.”
A spokesman for East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the DGH, said its legal department oversaw the management of legal claims at every stage of the process. Claims are often complex and involve a number of factors including nursing care.
He said: “The trust takes any claim or complaint seriously and ensures that each one is investigated and the learning from the investigation is shared across the whole organisation so services can be continuously improved.
“We continue to strive to improve outcomes and experience for our patients by listening to what they tell us and acting on it. In addition we monitor our services against a number of quality indicators and take immediate action if these raise any concerns.
“We are pleased that this has resulted in ongoing improvements in our performance and this is reflected in the comments made by our patients and our regulators.”
The NHS Litigation Authority deals with claims on the trust’s behalf.
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