Birmingham hospital cardiac death rates above average

The heart unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham is now under weekly review by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the BBC reported.

Death rates which were published in September 2015 showed that the unit had an above average death rate compared with other heart units around the country. The Queen Elizabeth has responded by saying that the rates are related to one surgeon who has since been dismissed. They also stated that the data fails to take into account surgery on NHS patients which takes place in private hospitals by the trust’s surgeons.

The data represents the average death rate of the cardiac surgical unit from April 2011 to March 2014 and it showed that unit at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital had an above average death rate.

The Care Quality Commission stated that they will be monitoring the unit for the foreseeable future.

The BBC reported that Prof Sir Mike Richards, Chief Inspector of Hospitals at the CQC, said it had conducted an inspection at the trust on 21 and 22 December 2015 following information from the trust’s own audit.

“Our inspectors found significant concerns particularly with regard to the safety, effectiveness and responsiveness of the service,” said Sir Mike.

As a result the CQC told the trust to “take immediate action” and had been “monitoring individual patient safety and outcome data on a weekly basis”, he added.

An independent team from the Royal College of Surgeons is also conducting a review to determine what improvements may be needed.

The trust has stated it had “taken action as early as June 2013 when internal data identified a cluster of deaths between September 2011 and September 2012 related to one surgeon”.

The BBC reported in April 2014 that Mr Ian Wilson was dismissed from the QE Hospital following an internal inquiry showing he was misreporting medical data of bypass patients, the internal investigation suggested he was under-reporting the time patients spent on a heart-lung bypass machine.