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Children's Heart Operations Delayed for Months as Staff are Retrained after Crisis

Seriously ill children are being transferred to London for operations after NHS Greater Glasgow suspended surgeries.

 

Seriously ill children are being transferred to London for operations after NHS Greater Glasgow suspended surgeries. Image: Daily Record File Picture: The Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow and The Royal Hospital for Children (round building). GV

Surgery on some of Scotland’s sickest babies will not begin at the country’s flagship ­hospital until the summer – so staff can be retrained.

Seriously ill children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome are being operated on in London after bosses at NHS Greater Glasgow suspended ops.

It came after three babies died at ­Yorkhill Hospital in Glasgow after ­operations for the rare condition.

The service was suspended ahead of the opening of the new Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow, in June 2015.

There are normally about seven cases a year but to date, no surgery on babies with the condition has been carried out at the new site while bosses await “the appropriate skill mix”.

Now, documents released under ­freedom of information show that the programme will not be reinstated until the summer and “the retraining of staff for this highly complex surgical ­procedure” is complete.

Surgeons took on cases of hypoplastic left heart syndrome four years ago. The condition means the left side of a baby’s heart has not formed correctly.

Heart surgeon Andrew Mclean in the cardiac operating theatre at Yorkhill hospital in Glasgow (Photo: Paul Chappells)

Earlier this year, consultant surgeon Andrew McLean told the Sunday Mail that surgeons were under huge scrutiny and that the surgery is the most difficult condition to treat. He and colleagues from University College London recently published an analysis of deaths within 30 days of children’s heart surgery.

It included 36,641 operations between 2000 and 2010, 5142 of which involved two or more ops. While the annual ­numbers rose from 2283 in 2000 to 3939 in 2009, the 30-day death rate fell from 4.3 per cent to 2.6 per cent.

The Paediatric Cardiac Services Review included a call for a mentorship programme primarily for paediatric cardiac surgeons.

A ­spokeswoman for NHS Greater ­Glasgow said they were aware of two cases of ­hypoplastic left heart syndrome that were transferred to London during ­migration to the new site.

The spokeswoman added: “An internal and external review confirms the service has access to clinical resources and facilities which are equal or exceed the best currently available anywhere in the UK but made some recommendations to be implemented before we can return this highly complex specialist surgery.”

She said once the “appropriate skill mix” is in place, the service will return back to Glasgow.

She added: “Medical teams will be carrying out the treatment in liaison with colleagues in London to ensure best practice and patient safety when it is reintroduced in Glasgow.”

 

Source: Daily Record

 

 

Children's Heart Operations Delayed for Months as Staff are Retrained after Crisis

 
 
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