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Cardiac unit death rate prompts monitoring.


The Care Quality Commission (CQC) says it will monitor the heart unit at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital heart unit for the foreseeable future.

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

The University Hospitals Birmingham Trust says the figures were caused by "a cluster of deaths" relating to a surgeon who was later dismissed.

The data, published in September 2015, showed the unit operated on 1,713 patients with a survival rate of 95.54 per cent, 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 would have proved the death rate was not above average.

CQC chief inspector of hospitals, Prof Sir Mike Richards, said it had conducted an inspection at the trust on 21 and 22 December 2015 following information from the trust's own audit.

He said: "Our inspectors found significant concerns particularly with regard to the safety, effectiveness and responsiveness of the service."

As a result, the CQC told the trust to "take immediate action" and has been monitoring individual patient safety and outcome data on a weekly basis.

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

In a statement the trust said it had "taken action as early as June 2013 when internal data identified a cluster of deaths between September 2011 and September 2012 relating to one surgeon.”

Heart surgeon, Ian Wilson, was dismissed following an internal inquiry showing he as misreporting the medical data of bypass patients such as the time they spent on a heart-lung bypass machine.

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

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