It has recently been announced that the deaths of up to 250 patients at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, London are being investigated.
Concerns regarding patients treated in the cardiac unit between April 2013 and September 2018, resulted in complex heart surgery being suspended last year.
A report was prepared following discussions with 39 members of staff at the unit and the staff have commented on the “dark force” and “toxic” feuds within the department.
The report highlights how the dysfunctional team of surgeons with “strong” personalities were unable to work together and as such could not put the interest of the patient as the heart of their treatment.
Whilst, unfortunately some deaths would have inevitable given the serious nature of the surgery, St George’s Hospital had nearly twice the death rate of the national average. The staff interviewed felt that “poor performance was inevitable due to the pervading atmosphere”.
Professor Berwick, the former NHS England deputy medical director, wrote the report and stated “In our view the whole team shares responsibility for the failure to significantly improve professional relationships and to a degree, surgical mortality”.
The Panel will now be reviewing each individual case and examining the medical records of all patients who died during this period and investigations made into any cases where significant concerns arise. The families will then be contacted accordingly.