A consultant surgeon refused to attend hospital to carry out urgent surgery at a trust which later had upper gastrointestinal surgery suspended after an unannounced Care Quality Commission visit.
The CQC report into upper GI surgery at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton – based on an inspection in August – said incident reports revealed occasions when upper GI surgeons could not be contacted or refused to come into hospital to treat patients. In one case, a consultant would not come in to carry out urgent surgery, it added.
Low numbers of surgeons meant the on-call rota for upper GI was shared with the lower GI surgeons. This meant an upper GI specialist was not always available immediately, despite guidance from a professional body that 24/7 subspecialty cover was needed at centres which carry out major resectional surgery. This surgery was suspended at the RSCH after the August inspection and has yet to be reinstated.
Mortality at both 30 and 90 days for patients with oesophago-gastric cancer was twice the national average between 2017 and 2020 – though the trust was not an outlier – and there was an increasing number of emergency readmissions for patients who had undergone upper GI surgery, the report said.
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Source: HSJ, 1 December 2022