Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham's QE Hospital under weekly review amid high death rates

QE Hospital, Birmingham Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The University Hospitals Trust disputes the figures included in the CQC's report

A hospital has been ordered to report weekly to the health watchdog amid concerns of high death rates during or after heart operations.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said it would monitor the heart unit of Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital for the "foreseeable future".

The University Hospitals Birmingham Trust said the figures had been caused by "a cluster of deaths".

It said they related to a surgeon who was later dismissed.

The CQC said it would publish its findings in the near future.

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Data from the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgeons showed the cardiac surgical unit at Queen Elizabeth Hospital had an above average death rate over the three years from April 2011 to March 2014.

The data, published in September 2015, showed the unit operated on 1,713 patients with a survival rate of 95.54%, which indicated 77 of the patients died.

However, the trust said the figures were misleading because they did not consider all operations carried out by its surgeons on NHS patients at Birmingham's private Priory Hospital, which it claimed would have proved the death rate was not above average.

'Significant concerns'

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.

Image caption Ian Wilson was dismissed from Queen Hospital for misreporting medical data

The trust released a statement saying 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".

Ian Wilson was dismissed from the QE Hospital following an internal inquiry showing he was misreporting medical data of bypass patients.

Investigations into Mr Wilson began in 2013 after an audit found 15 of his patients died over a 14-month period.

The General Medical Council said Mr Wilson was working under interim conditions while an investigation took place.

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