Great-nephew of NHS founder Nye Bevan died from lung cancer after a series of blunders at two hospitals, inquest hears
- Roderick Bevan died because doctors failed to recognise disease or treat it
- Coroner ruled that blunders amounted to neglect, he died at 66 in May last year
- Mr Bevan, a retired caretaker, would have survived had he received radiotherapy
The great-nephew of NHS founder Nye Bevan died after a series of blunders at two hospitals treating him for lung cancer, it emerged last night.
Roderick Bevan died because doctors at both trusts failed to tell him he had the disease or treat it.
By the time they realised their mistake, in January last year, the condition was terminal and he could not be saved.
A coroner has ruled that the blunders amounted to neglect, and Mr Bevan, a retired caretaker, would have survived had he received radiotherapy.
Solicitor Christine Bowerman, who represented Mr Bevan’s family at his inquest, said he had died because of ‘gross medical failings’ and ‘numerous systematic errors’ by the two trusts.
The late Aneurin (Nye) Bevan, Labour health minister, who founded the state-run healthcare system created in 1948
She added: ‘This case was truly appalling. The fact that multiple individuals within two NHS trusts didn’t communicate to a patient in their care that he had a treatable lung cancer for 15 months is despicable.’
Mr Bevan’s daughter, Paula, told The Guardian that her father had been ‘let down’ by the NHS – the state-run healthcare system created in 1948 by Labour health minister Aneurin ‘Nye’ Bevan.
She said: ‘My dad was totally let down by the NHS, whose founder was Nye Bevan, who my dad was related to. He was his great uncle. I am sure that he would be appalled by the events that have unfolded.’
In the days before he died, Mr Bevan asked his daughter to request an inquest into his care and treatment to avoid the same thing happening to another patient.
An inquest heard that doctors diagnosed lung cancer in October 2016 after Mr Bevan had a scan at Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, Lincolnshire.
But, despite more appointments, medics at Pilgrim Hospital, and the University Hospitals of Leicester Trust, which took over his care, failed to tell him he had the disease until January 2018.
The hearing was told that the failings meant Mr Bevan, of Grantham, Lincolnshire, was denied specialist radiotherapy treatment that could have cured him. He died at 66 in May last year.
At an inquest on May 1, Boston coroner Paul Smith ruled Mr Bevan’s death was the result of ‘natural causes contributed to by neglect’. He said that ‘on the balance of probabilities’, had the results of a scan and the recommendation of a hospital meeting in October 2016 been acted upon promptly, ‘the treatment proposed would have been successful’.
Peter Walsh, of the charity Action Against Medical Accidents, said: ‘This is a shocking case. However, this is not a novelty. Rather, it is yet another example of how the modern-day NHS is failing far too many patients.
‘Nye Bevan would turn in his grave if he knew the number of avoidable deaths being caused by failure in patient safety.’
Dr Neill Hepburn, medical director at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Pilgrim Hospital, said: ‘We accept there were opportunities for us to communicate more effectively with Mr Bevan, and have carried out a full investigation. We have learned from this and have reviewed our practices and procedures.’
Dr Andrew Furlong, medical director at University Hospitals of Leicester Trust, added: ‘Unfortunately Mr Bevan died in tragic circumstances. For that we remain incredibly sorry.’ He said that since Mr Bevan’s death it had changed its systems to prevent anything similar happening again.