doctors performing surgery

Great Ormond Street Surgeons put Children’s Safety at Risk

Young patient’s treatment is being compromised after recent reports came to light over two surgeons warring against one another. The surgical urology team at Great Ormond Street Hospital, which treats more than 3,000 children a year from all over the country, are said to have some difficulties with two of their surgeons proving a “lack of trust and respect” for each other, with “potential to affect patient care and safety”.

The “fractured” relationship between the two doctors had caused dysfunction within the hospital and major problems for the wider team. Evidence had shown that support staff had been inappropriately treated by the two surgeons and one other staff member avoided some important team meetings.

We recently reported the lack of Paediatric Intensive Care (PICU) beds were causing delays and putting children’s care at risk.  However, it appears that the conflict between the surgeons at Great Ormond Street was causing competition between the consultants and the patients, which led to reportedly longer wait times for sick children.

Consequently, experts from the Royal College of Surgeons were brought in to review the situation between the two doctors, after the trust staff’s raised concern about serious incidents in the department and the outcomes of patient care. The summary of the report released by the college had called for urgent action, warning the hospital that a “dysfunctional relationship between two members of the consultant team.”

The report, which was recorded back in July, was published with the trust’s most recent board papers in November. Though despite the report questioning the effectiveness of how the dispute was handled, the trust said that it took the issue “extremely seriously” and good progress was being made against the issues in the report.

A spokeswoman for the trust additionally added that “Successful mediation and the first away days have taken place and very constructive conversations have happened between all consultants”.

“The report recognises they are a group of excellent dedicated surgeons who look after patients well and they are now working together to shape their services to better serve the needs of their patients.”

However, since publishing the report no evidence has been released to show that the two doctors solved there “significant difficulties”, only the mentions of the trust implementing their “robust action plan” to improve the relationship between the two doctors.

Tamlin Bolton, Solicitor at Pryers commented “Great Ormond Street Hospital has such a highly regarded reputation for its world class care of young patients. What we do not want to see, is patients receiving care not in accordance with NHS Best Practice because surgeons are refusing to work together, refusing to co-operate or putting other clinical staff under pressure. In-fighting between colleagues simply causes a distraction, in an environment that relies on you remaining focused and calm. I hope for all the clinical staff and those patients receiving treatment in this unit, that these disputes can be resolved.”

At Pryers, we have represented many patients with medical negligence claims. If the health of you or your child has ever been affected by poor care and judgment by doctors, please get in touch to find out how we can help you with your claim.

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