FIGURES released under the Freedom of Information Act show that Sussex has one of the highest rates of critical pressure ulcers in Britain – despite a well-performing hospital trust.
The figures, obtained by campaign group the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) show the number of hospital-acquired pressure ulcers which deteriorated to a critical level were well over twice the national average – 12.5 per – cent in 2012-13.
However, figures from Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust which runs St Richard’s Hospital had only four cases where sores reached ‘critical levels’.
In 2012-13 inpatients at hospitals managed by the trust developed 120 pressure ulcers, with only 3.3 per cent of these deteriorating to levels where body fat, tendons, muscle or bone could be visible.
“Early identification and treatment should ensure that pressure ulcers do not reach the critical point,” said Jonathan Wheeler, vice president of APIL. “All pressure ulcers are painful, but far too many are being allowed to develop to levels that will cause serious pain and distress and take considerable time and resource to heal.”
The report said research suggested 95 per cent of pressure ulcers were avoidable, if simple procedures were carried out.
APIL has launched a five-point plan to address the issue in hospitals and care homes and has produced a national map to compare the best and worst-performing areas. The plan includes spot-checking regimes and home checks.