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Bypass ops care flawed

6th June 2008

A top-level report has concluded that the care given to many patients having heart bypass surgery may be flawed.

heart surgery

The document from the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) suggested that as many as 20% of the 200,000 patients a year undergoing the operation did not get the best care possible.

The NCEPOD investigators focussed on cases at 39 NHS hospitals and 19 private hospitals as part of a drive to look at lessons that can be learned from deaths or poor results.

It found that there were problems of delays after referral and in the way tests were carried out, the way doctors communicated with one another and how patients were cared for after the operations.

They said in two-thirds of cases where a patient died that some aspect of the care was flawed. Recommendations made include urging cardiac surgery teams to follow national guidelines, after it was found half of the trusts were not following Department of Health guidelines.

NCEPOD Chairman Professor Tom Treasure said: “Coronary surgery will not always succeed and death comes to us all in the end but if the means at our disposal are not deployed effectively and in a timely way, appropriate to the circumstances, lives that might have been saved will be lost.�

NHS Medical Director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, the NHS Medical Director, said the report provided helpful pointers towards improving care and that the government would work closely with cardiothoracic surgeons to “ensure that patients get the highest possible standard of care.�

 

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