Heart staff fears ‘unfounded’ but hospital makes changes

The Oxford Times: Paul Brennan Paul Brennan

A HOSPITAL review decided staff concerns about heart patients’ safety were unfounded but bosses have made changes to management and training.

Concerns about staffing levels were made to county hospital chiefs and through a whistleblower complaint to the national regulator.

But an independent panel found “no patient safety issues” and praised care, but made recommendations on management and training.

The concerns by staff were made internally in March last year about the Oxford Heart Centre at the John Radcliffe Hospital.

There was also a whistleblower complaint to the Care Quality Commission regulator that month over safety and “failure to respond to concerns”, an Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust report said.

The trust, which ordered an investigation in November, said: “The review panel examined these concerns and was clear that there were no patient safety issues and went on to commend the clinical care provided within the unit.

“However, the review raised some issues related to the management structure, the culture of the working environment and training compliance and it provided a number of recommendations on how to further improve the service and the unit.”

The review led to a 37-point action plan that included the drawing-up of standard procedures for care, including pre-op assessments and management of patients discharged after surgery.

Other actions include a doctor to co-ordinate work around labs, theatre and intensive care, and a new reporting system on anaesthetic sessions.

Director of clinical services Paul Brennan said: “I am pleased that the independent review panel found that there were no patient safety issues.

“I am grateful to the panel for their work in advising us on areas where they felt that we could improve.

“Many of their recommendations were to continue with work that was already ongoing, some of which have been overtaken by the trust’s planned reorganisation, and we have now nearly completed all the actions that were identified.”

CQC spokesman John Scott said it considered appropriate action had been taken to address concerns, and the commission would continue to monitor concerns.

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