Pryers Solicitors

Birmingham hospital to be reviewed weekly following a spate of deaths

Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital must report weekly to the health watchdog, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), following concerns of high death rates during, or after, heart operations.

The CQC said it would be monitoring the heart unit at Birmingham’s QE hospital for the “foreseeable future” and would be publishing its findings shortly.

The University Hospitals Birmingham Trust told the BBC that the figures had been caused by “a cluster of deaths.” The went on to say it related to one surgeon who was later dismissed.

Ian Wilson was dismissed from the QE hospital after he was found to be under-reporting the amount of time patients spend on a heart-lung bypass machine.

Studies have shown there is a higher risk of complication, and death, for patients who spend longer on these machines.

Investigations into Mr Wilson began 12 months before his dismissal, in 2013. An internal audit found that 15 of his patients died over a 14-month period.

Following information from the Trust’s own audit, Prof Sir Mike Richards, Chef inspector of Hospitals at the CQC, said it had conducted an inspection at The trust on 21 and 22 December 2015.

“Our inspectors found significant concerns particularly with regard to the safety, effectiveness and responsiveness of the service,” said Sir Mike.

The CQC told the Trust to “take immediate action” and had been “monitoring individual patient safety and outcome data on a weekly basis”, he added.

Data published in September 2015 by the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgeons showed the unit operated on 1,713 patients with a survival rate of 95.54%, which means 77 of those patients died.

The Trust refuted the figures, stating they are misleading as they do not consider all the operations carried out by their surgeons on NHS patients at Birmingham’s private Priory Hospital. It claims this would prove the death rate was not above average.

The Royal College of Surgeons have an independent team conducting a review to determine what improvements need to be made.