Hospital inquiry to be Warminster family-led

Wiltshire Times: Stephen and Yolanda Turner Stephen and Yolanda Turner

THE parents of Warminster boy Sean Turner say they have a positive way forward after NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh ordered an independent review into Bristol Royal Hospital for Children.

Steve and Yolanda Turner were joined by nine other families for a three-hour meeting with Sir Bruce last Friday to discuss the failings in child cardiac services.

Sean died in 2012 from a brain haemorrhage after previously suffering a cardiac arrest – six weeks after having corrective heart surgery at the hospital.

Mr and Mrs Turner heard at an eight-day inquest last month how staff failed to pick up signs of his worsening condition on ward 32.

Sir Bruce has now asked Sir Ian Kennedy, who led the inquiry into the deaths of dozens of babies at Bristol Royal Infirmary in the 1990s, to conduct a probe led by the families.

Mrs Turner said: “It was a really positive meeting... Sir Bruce suggested the way forward was to have an independent review of the paediatric cardiac unit.

“We will now meet Sir Ian Kennedy and work out the scope of the review. It’s good that we will have control over the review and it is significant that Sir Ian will be doing it, after his previous report on the hospital.

“When he looks at the hospital again he will be met with the same failings highlighted in the first scandal. We did want a public inquiry but Sir Bruce said that can take time.

“We have had meetings where nothing happened afterwards so this is the best outcome.”

The University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust welcomed the review and hoped it would “restore trust and confidence in the service”.

But Mrs Turner added: “The trust is in a constant state of denial and its statement after the meeting was an insult to the parents, so hopefully with this review we can make sure this never happens again.”

Sir Bruce said: “We concluded the most effective action might be to put in place an independent review of the care at the trust’s paediatric cardiac unit.

“It was clear a review would need to be independent of the NHS. It must be led by the families. It must be their review.”

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8:10pm Fri 21 Feb 14

gadfly says...

“... state of denial...” - surely this is the only rational position for an NHS body to adopt in our adversarial system: any admission of failure would doubtless be followed by claims for negligence. It has been reported that nearly 20% of the NHS budget is set aside for this - even car insurance providers advise not to admit liability, so this stance should be familiar to many.

As to being led by the families, I for one would rather be in a hospital which was led by qualified administrators, staffed by enough qualified clinicians, and independently and critically reviewed in a non-confrontational, unemotive and statistically-valid way.

The direct impact is between the day-to-day staff and the children as patients. It takes years and years to arrive at the level of skill needed to wield the knife, to change the dressings, to interpret the charts or to administer the drugs. Let us not forget those who work in such roles, society does not reward them with much of a salary or preferential parking or working conditions. They too have families and loved ones and share all the joys and tragedies of life.

There are few alternatives to the Bristol Children's Hospital, those who don't like it can go elsewhere or do their own surgery. It represents a triumph in modern times, the epitome of our knowledge and skill in medical science. It may never be perfect but it deserves our utmost support, sometimes most painfully given.
“... state of denial...” - surely this is the only rational position for an NHS body to adopt in our adversarial system: any admission of failure would doubtless be followed by claims for negligence. It has been reported that nearly 20% of the NHS budget is set aside for this - even car insurance providers advise not to admit liability, so this stance should be familiar to many. As to being led by the families, I for one would rather be in a hospital which was led by qualified administrators, staffed by enough qualified clinicians, and independently and critically reviewed in a non-confrontational, unemotive and statistically-valid way. The direct impact is between the day-to-day staff and the children as patients. It takes years and years to arrive at the level of skill needed to wield the knife, to change the dressings, to interpret the charts or to administer the drugs. Let us not forget those who work in such roles, society does not reward them with much of a salary or preferential parking or working conditions. They too have families and loved ones and share all the joys and tragedies of life. There are few alternatives to the Bristol Children's Hospital, those who don't like it can go elsewhere or do their own surgery. It represents a triumph in modern times, the epitome of our knowledge and skill in medical science. It may never be perfect but it deserves our utmost support, sometimes most painfully given. gadfly
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