A relative of the founder of the NHS died after a “life-threatening mistake” made by two NHS trusts, one of which runs Boston Pilgrim Hospital where he received part of his care.
Roderick Bevan, the great-nephew of Nye Bevan, was “let down” by the United Lincolnshire Hospital Trust and University Hospitals of Leicester Trust after they failed to notify him about a lung tumour, the family’s solicitor said.
At a hearing at Boston Coroner’s Court last month, Lincolnshire coroner Paul Smith concluded Mr Bevan, of Grantham, died of natural causes contributed to by neglect.
The inquest findings said the retired caretaker could have survived had he received radiotherapy.
His inquest heard how the tumour was identified during a PET scan at Boston Pilgrim Hospital in October 2016.
Despite further appointments, medical professionals at Pilgrim Hospital and University Hospitals of Leicester Trust, which later took over his care, did not tell Mr Bevan he had lung cancer until January 2018.
The narrative verdict recorded at his inquest concluded: “Mr Bevan was then seen (in January) but by that time his condition had deteriorated such that he was no longer a candidate for active treatment.
“On balance of probabilities, had the results of the PET scan and/or the recommendation of the Multi Disciplinary Team meeting of October 11 2016 been acted upon promptly, the treatment proposed for Mr Bevan would have been successful.”
On the outcome of the inquest, the 66-year-old’s daughter, Paula, said: “I feel that my dad was totally let down by the NHS, whose founder was Nye (Aneurin) Bevan who, as the name suggests, my dad was related to – it was his great-uncle.
“I am sure that he would be appalled by the events that have unfolded. No one deserves to be let down like this and my dad had such a big heart and even when he was suffering, he sent me a text which I still have, it said ‘Keep happiness in your heart, everything will be alright’.”
She added: “Considering the trusts had already admitted liability beforehand, I would have expected a certain amount of support from the trusts due to the neglect and poor care of my father.”
Senior associate solicitor at JMP Solicitors, Christine Bowerman, who advised Ms Bevan about her father’s case, said: “In my opinion, the findings of the coroner were the best that we could have hoped for.
“Counsel Rachel Young had asked the coroner, on behalf of Ms Paula Bevan, to make a finding of ‘gross failings’ against both NHS trusts on the basis that everything that could have gone wrong, had gone wrong.
“She reminded the coroner of the many opportunities that had been missed by both trusts and reiterated that if these had not been missed the tragic outcome would have been avoided.
“Despite hearing the evidence of this neglect, the solicitors for the trusts challenged this submission.”
Ms Bowerman added: “The finding that death was by natural causes contributed to by neglect was the best that we could have hoped for from an inquest and it did reflect that Mr Bevan’s death could certainly have been avoided.”
Dr Neill Hepburn, medical director at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We would like to offer our sincere condolences to the family of Mr Bevan.
“We accept that there were opportunities for us to communicate more effectively with Mr Bevan and have carried out a full investigation into the circumstances of his death. We have learnt from this and have reviewed our practices and procedures.”
Andrew Furlong, medical director at Leicester’s Hospitals, said: “Unfortunately Mr Bevan died in tragic circumstances; for that we remain incredibly sorry. At the time, we carried out a serious incident review, involving his family, to help us understand exactly what happened and learn lessons.
“Since our review we have made significant improvements to prevent this happening again.
“We again offer our deepest sympathies to Mr Bevan’s family and friends and wholeheartedly apologise for their loss and the distress this has caused them.”