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Report says child heart ops should stay suspended

30th July 2010

An independent report has recommended that child heart surgery should remain suspended at Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital until improvements are made.

heart surgery

Four children died between December and February, after being operated on by consultant surgeon Caner Salih, leading to the halting of surgery.

However, the independent report commissioned by the South Central Strategic Health Authority (SHA) found the deaths were not due to errors of judgement but Mr Salih was not given appropriate supervision and there were problems in his induction and mentoring when he began work at the hospital.

Mr Salih, who was cleared of any wrongdoing by the report, decided to stop operating after the deaths and raised his concerns with the trust about the age of equipment and poor working practices.

SHA chairman Dr Geoffrey Harris apologised to the families of the babies who died and said: “We offer our sincere condolences and we apologise that, in the cases, the standards of care were not what was expected.”

The report said in all cases the surgery was complex and high risk but that arrangements for clinical management were inadequate.

It stated: “In Mr Salih's four cases, we found no evidence of poor surgical practice, but that he would have benefited from help or mentoring by a more experienced surgeon; and that it was an error of judgment for him to undertake the fourth case.”

The document has recommended an overhaul of the way the hospital deals with serious incidents, better clinical and managerial leadership and to develop ways to identify adverse trends in surgical outcomes earlier.

 

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