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Trusts criticised over 'strained' relationship

10th December 2010

An inquiry into potential misdiagnosis of patients in the Bristol area has highlighted a strained relationship between two trusts.

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The investigation into histopathology services criticised University Hospital Bristol Foundation Trust (UHBT) and North Bristol Trust.

No evidence was found to suggest the histopathology department at UHBT provided anything other than a safe service, but the report noted the failure to carry out a prompt investigation meant “matters escalated out of all proportion”.

The review of tests carried out at the UHBT-run Bristol Royal Infirmary and associated sites, was commissioned in June last year.

An audit of 3,500 random tissue samples dating back to 2007 was also carried out and the results sent to the Royal College of Pathologists for comment. It found 26 cases were misdiagnosed, a figure the college acknowledged was not high enough to be of serious concern.

Recommendations for changes included a unified histopathology service to be established in Bristol and for a better working relationship between UHBT and North Bristol Trust.

The report stated: “The main area of concern relates to culture and attitude, both in the histopathology department itself and between the two trusts.

“Professional competition is healthy. Professional rivalry which damages the sane and rational distribution of services is not.

“The failure to carry out a thorough and prompt investigation of the concerns when raised meant that matters escalated out of all proportion and the already strained relationship between the histopathology services in the two Bristol trusts became more deeply entrenched.”

The two trusts have since improved their relationship.

 

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