MPs demand urgent investigation into management of Birmingham Children's Hospital10th November 2008
âThird classâ hospital puts lives at risk, claim MPs
MPs demanded an urgent investigation into management at Birmingham Childrenâs Hospital last night after experts condemned a âthird classâ service which they claimed was putting patientsâ lives at risk.
A damning report found staff were unable to recognise common operating theatre instruments, nurses are quitting because they fear safety is compromised, while parents are âtold liesâ to cover up delays in conducting medical procedures on seriously ill children.
The inquiry, by city primary care trusts, quotes consultants at the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust describing renal transplant services at the Childrenâs Hospital as worse than in the poorer parts of Africa.
In a rare show of unity, all Birmingham MPs dropped party differences to urge Health Secretary Alan Johnson to order an investigation.
Gisela Stuart (Lab Edgbaston) was satisfied that BCH continued to display âclinical excellenceâ, but there was an obvious need for âmanagement and governanceâ arrangements to be examined.There were doubts about how BCH would fit in with the QE super hospital âcentre of excellenceâ when it opens, she said. Mrs Stuart added: âThe management team has to come up with some answers. They need to respond very quickly to the shortcomings that have been highlighted in this report.â
The document hits out at âa lack of clinical leadershipâ at both medical and nursing levels and describes tensions between BCH and UHB.
Consultants from UHB are no longer prepared to attend BCH until patients have been called to theatre and are insisting on preparing donor organs themselves rather than trust colleagues at the Childrenâs Hospital.
Children with brain damage have been involved in âclose callsâ because of delays in getting them admitted.
The document describes transplant operations: âStaff have not recognised the instruments when asked for them, leading to delays in the procedure while the correct instrument is located. This happens with common pieces of equipment that should be known to the staff.
âA direct comparison was made with support received on a charity visit to Lagos where in-theatre procedures were felt to be better than in BCH.â
The report adds: âThe consensus view from the liver consultants is that paediatrics is getting a third-class service and putting patientsâ lives at risk, compounded by increased length of stay.â
The report was commissioned after doctors at BCH and UHB complained that their repeated attempts to raise the alarm had gone unheeded.
Childrenâs Hospital chief executive Paul OâConnor said: â An action plan has been developed and agreed with the PCTâs to address the concerns raised and we can confirm that there is no immediate clinical risk to any patients. We take any concerns about clinical practices at the Childrenâs Hospital very seriously, and will ensure that improvements are implemented swiftly.â
Dr Sandy Bradbrook, chief executive of Heart of Birmingham Teaching Primary Care Trust, said: âThis is a good example of how commissioning organisations can exert appropriate pressure and direction on organisations providing services to ensure patient safety and improvement of quality services.â
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Title: MPs demand urgent investigation into management of Birmingham Children's Hospital
Author: Anne Waller
Article Id: 9138
Date Added: 10th Nov 2008