The son of a former snooker hall manageress who died in a Suffolk hospital said he is "pleased" with changes that have been made since failings were found in his mother's care. 

West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds apologised to Karl Mayes and his family after an ombudsman's report identified failings in the care of Maureen Mayes, 83, who died while in its care on March 7, 2021.

Ms Mayes, who spent most of her life in Sudbury, died from a respiratory tract infection nine days after she was admitted with pneumonia. 

Sudbury Mercury: Maureen Mayes, 83, who died while in West Suffolk Hospital care on March 7, 2021Maureen Mayes, 83, who died while in West Suffolk Hospital care on March 7, 2021 (Image: Mayes family)

In November 2021 Dr Jane Sturgess, learning from deaths clinical lead at the hospital, carried out an internal review and the hospital apologised when it was found they had confused Ms Mayes' antibiotics, overdosed her on diazepam, failed to monitor her weight and failed to complete a mental capacity assessment.

Mr Mayes took his mother's case to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, which highlighted four further areas where the hospital failed. 

In December, West Suffolk Hospital sent a letter to Mr Mayes which, seen by the East Anglian Daily Times, breaks down 23 changes that are to be introduced in the wake of the report, some of which relate to fluid management, administering antibiotics and complaint handling. 

Sudbury Mercury: Karl Mayes, son of Maureen MayesKarl Mayes, son of Maureen Mayes (Image: Newsquest)

Of the action plan, 17 changes are described as 'complete', five are 'ongoing/in progress' and one is listed for 'January 2024'. 

Mr Mayes said: "From the beginning I said it was about putting things right and the hospital have definitely worked hard in that department.

"I am very pleased with the changes because it should make it a safer place for the general public when they are in hospital and I think the changes will without a doubt end up saving lives.

"At the end of the day, that was our target. Hopefully this will stop someone else having to go through it." 

Sudbury Mercury: West Suffolk Hospital, where Maureen diedWest Suffolk Hospital, where Maureen died (Image: Newsquest)

The 'completed' changes in the action plan include a sepsis/acute kidney injury study day being increased to once a month for registered nurses and nursing assistants and an updated patient escalation threshold and trigger prompt for critical care review.

'Ongoing' actions include the development of a fluid balance dashboard and digital improvements like automatic prompts for nurses and nursing assistants, both of which the trust has described as 'soon to be completed'. 

Mr Mayes said that he plans to have a call with hospital chief Dr Ewen Cameron in the near future in which he will discuss any further worries he has. 

Dr Cameron, chief executive of West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: "I would like to again, offer my sincere condolences to Mrs Mayes’ family, at what remains a difficult time.

"We take all complaints extremely seriously and our teams across the Trust investigate these thoroughly to identify and implement actions to improve the care we provide.

Sudbury Mercury: Dr Ewen Cameron, chief executive for the West Suffolk NHS Foundation TrustDr Ewen Cameron, chief executive for the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (Image: WSFT)

"Since the events surrounding Mrs Mayes’ care, a significant amount of work has been undertaken.

"This includes the implementation of an improvement plan, of which the majority of actions are already in place."

The trust said three of the six 'ongoing' actions are soon to be completed.

The trust refreshed its Patient Safety Incident Response Framework in 2023, which helps to identify learning opportunities when things don’t go as planned.