THE chief executive of The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust has defended claims borough hospitals have the highest recorded number of bed sores in England.

Paula Clark spoke out after a BBC Inside Out investigation revealed 42 per cent of serious incidents reported at all hospitals in England involve pressure ulcers which affect the skin and underlying tissue, with the Dudley Trust recording more cases than any other.

During the programme, Ms Clark refuted claims by the Royal College of Nursing that high numbers were down to a lack of staff and were instead due to its “rigorous” checking system of sores - which can often be avoidable.

In a statement she said: “We investigate every single serious untoward incident, including new pressure ulcers that a patient develops while in hospital, in their own home or in a residential home while under the care of the Trust.

“We introduced a rigorous new system of checking pressure ulcers in January 2011 and included both avoidable and unavoidable pressure ulcers in our numbers. We expected to see a rise in the numbers of reported pressure ulcers by our nursing teams. Now that our reporting is so robust we are seeing the kinds of reductions we hoped for.”

Over the last two years the Trust has also launched two public awareness campaigns, with the most recent even backed by Dudley’s Olympic water polo player Alex Parsonage and has introduced a dedicated pressure ulcer champion on every ward.

However Dudley North MP Ian Austin, said the figures were “very worrying” and he hoped to raise the issue in parliament.