St Georges’ hospital cardiac services update

National health and care priorities in 2019
31st December 2018
Patient safety consultation
2nd January 2019

St Georges’ hospital cardiac services update

In summer 2018 we reported that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) had found some improvements in cardiac services at St Georges’ hospital in Tooting. This followed a report that lower than expected survival rates after cardiac surgery, and a reported toxic environment, have led St George’s Hospital Trust to commission an independent review into their service.

Last month St Georges’ announced that they were bringing in Mr Steven Livesey to offer leadership to their cardiac department. It is hoped that his appointment will allow the trust to respond to the CQC’s findings from summer 2018.

CQC carried out a focused inspection at St George’s Hospital on dates in August and September 2018.
Inspectors found that the leadership of the unit was weak, but was being revised in an attempt to improve the service. CQC found that consultant surgeons mistrusted each other, as did cardiologists, anaesthetists and senior leaders.

Several consultant surgeons said that morale was low. There was a reduction in the number of patients using the service, as high-risk patients were being diverted to other hospitals.

CQC findings included: that there was a lack of cohesion and poor working conditions between surgeons; a culture of not learning from incidents; the quality of mortality and morbidity meetings were poor; multiple patient record systems were problematic; low morale; a lack of ongoing and regular oversight.

England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Ted Baker, said: “Issues such as weak leadership, internal unrest and multiple electronic patient record systems are just some of the problems affecting St George’s Hospital cardiac surgery unit.

“We have told the trust it must now take steps to improve the morale, culture and systems within the unit. Colleagues at NHS Improvement have set up an independent scrutiny panel for cardiac surgery, to advise, challenge and support the trust through this difficult time.

“I expect to see improvements at the cardiac surgery unit and CQC will be monitoring the situation closely. We did note that there were no immediate concerns regarding patient safety, which is our paramount concern at all times.”

You can read the full report here.

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