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Found 153 results
  1. News Article
    Women who are operated on by a male surgeon are much more likely to die, experience complications and be readmitted to hospital than when a woman performs the procedure, research reveals. Women are 15% more liable to suffer a bad outcome, and 32% more likely to die, when a man rather than a woman carries out the surgery, according to a study of 1.3 million patients. The findings have sparked a debate about the fact that surgery in the UK remains a hugely male-dominated area of medicine and claims that “implicit sex biases” among male surgeons may help explain why women are at such greater risk when they have an operation. “In our 1.3 million patient sample involving nearly 3,000 surgeons we found that female patients treated by male surgeons had 15% greater odds of worse outcomes than female patients treated by female surgeons,” said Dr Angela Jerath, an associate professor and clinical epidemiologist at the University of Toronto in Canada and a co-author of the findings. “This result has real-world medical consequences for female patients and manifests itself in more complications, readmissions to hospital and death for females compared with males. “We have demonstrated in our paper that we are failing some female patients and that some are unnecessarily falling through the cracks with adverse, and sometimes fatal, consequences.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 4 January 2022
  2. News Article
    The government has committed “in principle” to creating a public repository of consultants’ practice details that sets out their practising privileges and key performance data, including how many times they have performed a particular procedure and how recently. The commitment was part of the response to an independent national inquiry, launched in 2017, following the malpractice of rogue surgeon Ian Paterson. Now serving a 20 year prison sentence, Paterson had undertaken numerous unnecessary breast operations in both private and NHS practice, causing harm to hundreds of patients. The inquiry, published February 2020, found that Paterson was able to harm patients over more than decade because of the “dysfunctional” healthcare system. It outlined 17 recommendations for the government to respond to, mainly focusing on improving oversight and governance, as well as ensuring greater scrutiny of private providers. At the time, some saw the report as a missed opportunity to tackle the systemic patient safety risks of the private hospital business model, such as financial incentives which can lead to overtreatment. Read full story Source: BMJ, 17 December 2021
  3. News Article
    An inquest into whether a pioneering surgery technique played any role in a Gloucestershire woman's death has opened. Jacqui Kingston, from Marshfield, died on 16 March 2020 after having mesh fitted for a prolapsed bowel at Southmead Hospital in Bristol. On Monday an inquest opened at Avon Coroner's Court examining whether the surgery performed by colorectal surgeon Tony Dixon contributed to her death. It is due to run until Thursday. Pathologist Edward Sheffield told the hearing that the use of the mesh for a prolapsed bowel - which was fitted in 2016 - may have contributed to her death. The inquest heard that Mrs Kingston was a fragile patient with many underlying health conditions who developed complications. Mr Dixon was dismissed by the North Bristol NHS Trust in 2019 after dozens of his patients were told they should have been offered alternative treatment first. Read full story Source: BBC News, 13 December 2021
  4. News Article
    A second “mutilated” patient left with life-changing injuries after botched hospital surgery has described how she was left in urine-soaked bed sheets for days by nurses who called her lazy when she was unable to get out of bed. Lucy Wilson told The Independent she believes she would have been better looked after at a veterinary practice compared to the level of care she received from nurses at Norfolk and Norwich Hospital Trust in January last year. She was one of three patients harmed by surgeon Camilo Valero in the same week and almost died after Dr Valero and other staff failed to recognise her life-threatening injuries following the operation to remove her gall bladder. Dr Valero is under investigation by the General Medical Council but is still practising under supervision at the trust, which has refused to say whether the third patient survived their ordeal. After requests by The Independent, bosses at the NHS trust have now committed to publishing details of a secret review carried out by the Royal College of Surgeons into Dr Valero’s work and the wider surgical services at the trust. Read full story Source: The Independent, 31 May 2021
  5. News Article
    A private healthcare provider has been ordered to pay £20,000 after failing to disclose errors in the treatment of patients under the care of a surgeon. Spire Healthcare was prosecuted today in what the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said was “the first prosecution of its kind against an independent provider of healthcare”. The CQC said concerns around the treatment of four patients were initially raised by Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group, several physiotherapists at the hospital and another surgeon. The patients had surgical procedures carried out by Michael Walsh, a shoulder surgeon who held practising privileges at Spire Leeds until his suspension in April 2018. The procedures resulted in the patients suffering prolonged pain and requiring further remedial surgery. The CQC said it brought the prosecution after Spire failed to share details of what happened to the patients who were being treated by Mr Walsh, in line with their duty of candour responsibilities to be transparent and provide timely apologies when serious incidents occur. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 29 April 2021
  6. News Article
    An RAF veteran has been left with life-changing injuries after being “mutilated” by an NHS surgeon during what should have been a routine procedure. Paul Tooth, 64, has been permanently left with tubes going in and out of his body which he needs to continually recycle bile produced by his liver. The previously fit and active father-of-two has lost five stone in weight and can barely leave his house after the surgery last year. It was supposed to be a routine gall bladder removal, but the surgeon inexplicably took out Paul’s bile duct and hepatic duct, which link the liver to the intestines, as well as damaging the liver itself, making a repair impossible. Although he has won his legal battle against the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital Foundation Trust, Paul believes what happened to him raises bigger safety questions for the trust after he learned he was one of three patients harmed by the same surgeon just days apart. The alarm was first raised by Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge where the three patients were transferred for specialist care after their initial operations. The Norfolk and Norwich trust has now admitted liability for the errors and standard of care Paul received. Read full story Source: The Independent, 25 April 2021
  7. News Article
    New victims of rogue breast surgeon Ian Paterson are being blocked from using lawyers with experience of the scandal to bring fresh compensation claims against the private hospital where he worked, The Independent has learned. Under the terms of a legal settlement for £37m in 2017, 40 law firms are barred from bringing any new claims against Spire Healthcare for 20 years – meaning that former patients who have learned since then that they were victims of the surgeon, who was jailed for carrying out needless surgeries on women, face having to find lawyers with no prior knowledge of the case. When the deal was signed, it was thought that most of Paterson’s victims had been contacted by the hospital company, but an inquiry published in 2020 heavily criticised its failure to reach affected patients and accused the company of seeking to protect its reputation rather than the interests of patients. In response, Spire Healthcare launched a mass recall of 5,500 former patients, with independent clinicians reviewing their medical records. Some are learning for the first time that they had needless surgery at the hands of the surgeon. Read full story Source: The Independent, 11 April 2021
  8. News Article
    Following the statement from Nadine Dorries MP, Minister for Patient Safety, providing an update on the Paterson Inquiry, Matt James, Chief Executive of the Private Healthcare Information Network, said: “Although we were expecting the Government’s full response by now, it’s reassuring to know that this is still firmly on the agenda. The updates provided today are all welcome, but perhaps most telling is what remains to be addressed – most notably whole-practice information and better information for patients (recommendations one and three). “While it’s disappointing not to see more specifics, it is crucial that the recommendations are implemented properly and with the right consideration, resisting the temptation to create new systems from scratch and instead build on the excellent progress made by organisations such as NHS Digital, GIRFT, NCIP and PHIN. “We will continue to work with our partners across the NHS and private sector to make positive changes which improve transparency, accountability and information for patients. We will continue to liaise with the Department of Health and Social Care when invited to do so.” Press release Source: PHIN, 23 March 2021
  9. News Article
    Racism, sexism, and homophobia is widespread in hospital operating theatres across England, according to an independent report. In a damning verdict on the atmosphere in some surgical teams, Baroness Helena Kennedy QC said the ‘old boys’ network of alpha male surgeons was preventing some doctors from rising to the top and had fuelled an oppressive environment for women, ethnic minorities and trainee surgeons. The report was commissioned by the Royal College of Surgeons and lays bare the "discrimination and unacceptable behaviour" taking place in some surgical teams. Baroness Kennedy told The Telegraph the field of surgery was "lagging behind" society, adding: "It is driven by an ethos which is very much alpha male, where white female surgeons are often assumed to be nurses and black women surgeons mistaken for the cleaner. And this is by the management. Read full story Source: The Independent, 18 March 2021
  10. News Article
    NHS England has ordered an independent review into patient safety and governance concerns at an acute trust which had been resisting calls to take this step, HSJ has learned. The intervention at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust comes after pressure from staff and local MPs, who believe more extensive investigation is required into cases of patient harm within the trauma and orthopaedics division. The broad issues were first revealed by HSJ in November, with documents suggesting several patients were harmed after leaders failed to act on multiple concerns being raised about a surgeon. The trust has already commissioned one external review. This reported last year and found the service to be riven by “internecine squabbles”. However, the review was overseen by trust executives and the terms of reference were focused on incident reporting and culture within the department. It is understood that some consultants have since been pushing for further investigation into specific cases where patients were harmed, as well as concerns that managers or clinicians who were accused of failing to tackle the issues have since been promoted to more senior positions. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 2 March 2021
  11. Content Article
    The Paterson Inquiry The Independent Inquiry into the Issues raised by Paterson, published on 4 February 2020, was prompted by the case of Ian Paterson, a breast surgeon who was convicted of wounding with intent some of the 11,000 patients he treated and jailed for 20 years in 2017. More than 200 patients and family members gave evidence as part of the Inquiry and it is estimated that he could have harmed more than 1000 patients.[2] The scale of his malpractice is truly shocking, and it served to highlight a range of serious patient safety concerns in both the NHS and the independent sector. Describing this, the Inquiry Chair Graham Jones said: “This report is not simply a story about a rogue surgeon. It would be tragic enough if that was the case, given the thousands of people whom Ian Paterson treated. But it is far worse. It is the story of a healthcare system which proved itself dysfunctional at almost every level when it came to keeping patients safe, and where those who were the victims of Paterson’s malpractice were let down time and time again”[3] The report noted that while there was “no single legislative or regulatory fix which would ensure safety for all patients in future”, it had identified 15 recommendations for change from the evidence considered in the Inquiry.[3] Commenting at the time, we emphasised the importance of the Paterson Inquiry not becoming yet another report to unsafe care where sympathetic noises are made but no real learning or change occurs.[4] Response timeline Following the report’s publication, in the initial debate on this in the House of Commons in February 2020, Nadine Dorries emphasised the Government’s commitment to learn from this Inquiry and act on its findings. She stated that the Government would “report back to the House in three to four months’ time about the report itself”.[5] However, understandably, their plans in this respect were impacted by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic shortly afterwards, with the Minister subsequently providing an update to Parliament in April advising that their response would be delayed because of this.[6] While a degree of delay is understandable, there had been no further update on this by the end of 2020. At the start of this year, as part of the update on the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review, Nadine Dorries said that there were plans to regarding the Paterson Inquiry to “publish the government’s initial response in Parliament shortly”.[7] Government’s initial response In a statement this week, over a year on from the Paterson Inquiry’s publication, Nadine Dorries set out the Government’s initial response to its recommendations. This responded to five of the report’s fifteen recommendations and said that the Government would “consider all the recommendations and produce a full response to the inquiry’s 15 recommendations during 2021”.[1] You can see a full list of the Inquiry’s recommendations, and the Government’s responses to date, included in a separate document at the bottom of this blog. Considering these initial responses, one area where we believe further detail is needed is in the Government’s response to the recommendation that it should be standard practice that consultants write to patients outlining their condition and treatment in simple language, copying to their GP. Their response only appears to relate to patients in the NHS, when the report’s recommendation clearly states that this should also apply to patients in the independent sector. This needs clarification. Will action be taken on this recommendation in the independent sector and, if not, what is the rationale for not doing this? The need for urgent action Even allowing for the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, Patient Safety Learning does not believe it is acceptable that the Government has only provided a partial response to such an important patient safety report over a year on from its publication. While safety risks identified by the Inquiry remain unaddressed, the potential for patient harm remains. This must also be particularly difficult for those directly harmed by Ian Paterson, who are left waiting to see if lessons will be learned from their horrendous experiences. As one of his victims Deborah Douglas stated, commenting on this in The Independent: “There is still a clear and present danger of another Paterson happening. They haven’t actually tackled anything that’s complex and the longer this goes on the more chance it will happen again.”[8] If these significant safety recommendations remain unaddressed, how can the public and patients be assured that there won’t be future recurrences of unsafe care? We believe it is vital that the Department of Health and Social Care prioritises its response to the Paterson Inquiry and publishes a clear timescale for producing a full response to all fifteen of its recommendations. References UK Parliament. Written Statement: Update on the Government’s response to the Independent Inquiry into the Issues raised by Paterson, 23 March 2021. The Guardian. Ian Paterson inquiry: more than 1,000 patients had needless operations, 4 February 2020. The Right Reverend Graham Jones. Report of the Independent Inquiry into the Issues raised by Paterson, February 2020. Patient Safety Learning. Patient Safety Learning’s response to the Paterson Inquiry: Are there any new lessons for patient safety? Will there be any action? 11 February 2020. UK Parliament. House of Commons Debate: Paterson Inquiry, 4 February 2020. UK Parliament. Written Statement: Delay in the Government’s Response to the Paterson Inquiry, 28 April 2020. https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/update-on-the-governments-response-to-the-independent-medicines-and-medical-devices-safety-review. The Independent. Ministers accused of ‘knowingly exposing’ patients to risk after partial response to Paterson scandal, 24 March 2021.
  12. News Article
    Several patients were harmed after leaders at an acute trust failed to act on multiple concerns being raised about a surgeon, documents obtained by HSJ suggest. The documents reveal a catalogue of governance and safety concerns over the trauma and orthopaedics department at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust in the last three years. They include an external review which described the process for investigating clinical incidents as akin to “marking your own homework” and found the T&O department at Royal Lancaster Infirmary driven by “internecine squabbles”. It comes as the trust, which is widely known for a patient safety scandal within its maternity department, also faces a major investigation into whistleblowing concerns over its urology services. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 17 November 2020
  13. News Article
    Keyhole surgery can allow complicated procedures to be carried out with just a few access cuts, helping to reduce patient recovery times and potential risk of infection. But the remote controlled robots that can perform this type of surgery are often very large, expensive and not widely available. Now a new robo-surgeon with a modular design could be about to change that. View video Source: BBC News, 9 November 2020
  14. News Article
    The surgeon at the centre of a body parts scandal operated on patients who were dangerously sedated so that their procedures could be carried out simultaneously, according to a leaked investigation seen by The Independent. Renowned hip surgeon Derek McMinn and two anaesthetists at Edgbaston Hospital, Birmingham, were accused of putting “income before patient safety” in the internal investigation for BMI Healthcare, which runs the hospital. It comes after a separate review found that McMinn had hoarded more than 5,000 bone samples from his patients without a licence or proper permission to do so over a period of 25 years, breaching legal and ethical guidelines. Police are investigating a possible breach of the Human Tissue Act. According to the report on sedation by an expert from another hospital, the two anaesthetists, Imran Ahmed and Gauhar Sharih, sedated patients for so long that their blood pressure fell to dangerous levels in order to allow McMinn to carry out near-simultaneous surgery. It found this meant long delays in the operations starting, with one sedated patient being subjected to prolonged anaesthesia for longer than one hour and 40 minutes – recommended best practice is 30 minutes. Another patient was apparently "abandoned" for an hour and 26 minutes after their surgery was only partially completed while McMinn began operating on another patient. The report’s author, expert anaesthetist Dr Dhushyanthan Kumar of Coventry’s University Hospital, said this was unsafe practice by all three doctors and urged BMI Healthcare to carry out a review of patients to see if any had suffered lasting brain damage. Both anaesthetists work for the NHS – Ahmed at Dudley Group of Hospitals, Sharih at University Hospitals Birmingham – without restrictions on their ability to practise. Read full story Source: The Independent, 30 September 2020
  15. News Article
    For more than two decades, Derek McMinn harvested the bones of his patients, according to a leaked report – but it was not until last year that anyone challenged the renowned surgeon. The full scale of his alleged collection was apparently kept from the care regulator until just days ago, and thousands of those who went under his knife for hip and knee treatment still have no idea that their joints may have been collected in a pot in the operating theatre, and stored in the 67-year-old’s office or home. Clinicians and managers at the BMI Edgbaston Hospital, where McMinn carried out the majority of his operations, actively took part in the collection of bones and – even after alarms were raised – the hospital did not immediately act to stop the tissue being taken away, according to a leaked internal report seen by The Independent. An investigation found operating theatre staff at the private hospital left dozens of pots containing joints removed from patients femurs during hip surgery in a storage area, in some cases for months. According to the report, there had been warnings about their responsibilities under the Human Tissue Act when an earlier audit between 2010 and 2015 identified the storage of femoral heads, the joints removed in the procedure. The internal report said there was no evidence McMinn had carried out any research or had been approved for any research work – required by the Human Tissue Authority to legally store samples. It said one member of staff told investigators the samples were being collected for research on McMinn’s retirement. Although the Care Quality Commission knew about claims that a small number of bones being kept by McMinn, it is understood that the regulator received a copy of the BMI Healthcare investigation report only last Friday, after The Independent had made initial inquiries about the case. That report suggests a minimum of 5,224 samples had been taken by McMinn. The regulator confirmed to The Independent it had not been aware of the extent of McMinn’s supposed actions. An insider at BMI Healthcare accused the company of “covering up”, adding: “Quite senior staff at the hospital went along with it and just handed the pots over to his staff when they came to collect them.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 30 September 2020
  16. News Article
    A cosmetic surgeon who did not have adequate insurance for operations that went wrong has been struck off. Dr Arnaldo Paganelli worked privately for The Hospital Group in Birmingham. The Medical Practitioners' Tribunal Service ruled his actions constituted misconduct. Four women took their case to the body and the tribunal heard evidence about his time at Birmingham's Dolan Park Hospital where he made regular trips from Italy to work. Lead campaigner Dawn Knight, from Stanley, County Durham, said too much skin was removed from her eyes during an eyelift in 2012 and they became "constantly sore". She told BBC Radio 4's You and Yours programme she felt relieved Dr Paganelli "cannot injure anyone else on UK soil" and called for the government to tighten regulation around cosmetic procedures to protect the public. "The process has been long, emotional and exhausting. This situation must never be repeated. After all, when are you more vulnerable than when under aesthetic at the hands of a surgeon who has no insurance?" Read full story Source: BBC News, 12 August 2020
  17. News Article
    Dozens of surgeons have reported being told by the NHS employer to stop discussing shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the coronavirus crisis. The Confederation of British Surgery (CBS) said almost 70 surgeons working in major hospitals around the country had been warned off discussing a lack of PPE by their trust. A third of surgeons said the supply of PPE was inadequate at their hospital, with many complaining of inconsistent guidance, rationing of supplies and poor quality PPE when it was available. When asked if their concerns were dealt with satisfactorily, nearly a third said they were not addressed, or not effectively. A survey of 650 surgeons by the union found many were now considering changes to the way they worked as a result of the crisis – with more than half, 380, saying they would be avoiding face-to-face meetings with patients in the future. More than 40 surgeons, around 7%, said they were now considering leaving surgery altogether. Read full story Source: The Independent, 10 August 2020
  18. News Article
    Former patients of rogue breast surgeon Ian Paterson may have died of “unnatural deaths” two senior coroners have said. Senior coroner for Birmingham and Solihull, Louise Hunt, and area coroner Emma Brown have said they believe there is evidence to suspect victims of Ian Paterson, who was jailed for 17 counts of wounding with intent in 2017, died unnaturally as a result of his actions. They now plan to open four inquests into the deaths of patients who died from breast cancer after being treated by Paterson. “Following preliminary investigations, the senior and area Coroner believe there is evidence to have reason to suspect that some of those deaths may be unnatural. In accordance with the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, inquests will now be opened in relation to four former patients of Mr Paterson.” Deborah Douglas, a victim of Paterson who leads a support group in Solihull, told The Independent: "I have spoken to so many women over the years who have since died. This is what I have always known and fought for. "Paterson lied about pathology reports and people did develop secondary cancers." Read full story Source: The Independent, 4 July 2020