Friday, May 13, 2022

Trainee doctors removed from surgery department warned of “poisonous” culture

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

A scandal-hit cardiac surgery department that has been criticized for its “toxic” culture had its trainee doctors removed last year. LatestPageNews have learned.

This week a coroner defended heart surgery at St George’s University Hospital and criticized an NHS-commissioned review of 67 deaths that warned of poor care.

However, LatestPageNews has learned that just last year the unit received a critical report from Health Education England (HEE), the body responsible for education in healthcare.

The NHS authority was so concerned about cultural issues and “inappropriate behaviour” within the unit that it pulled the junior doctors working there.

This is the third time HEE has intervened since 2018, when the unit was criticized for having a “toxic” culture in an independent review.

In a statement, Professor Geeta Menon, Postgraduate Dean for South London at Health Education England, said: “The HEE conducted a review of cardiac surgery at St George’s University Hospital in July 2021 and concluded that further improvements are needed to ensure a to create a suitable learning environment for doctors in training.

“We continue to work closely with the Trust to implement our requirements and recommendations and will reassess their progress this summer. The HEE is committed to ensuring quality patient care and the best possible learning environment for postgraduate physicians at St. George’s.”

LatestPageNews believes a report issued in December after the HEE visit identified issues with “inappropriate behavior” and poor teamwork by advisors, and raised concerns that previously identified cultural issues persisted in the unit.

Several reports of a “blame” culture among counselors were also found, LatestPageNews was told.

Several reports have pointed to poor care and cultural issues within the cardiothoracic surgery department between 2018 and 2020, including an independent review commissioned by NHS Improvement after high mortality rates were found there.

The review, published in 2020, examined the care of 202 patients between 2013 and 2018. It identified care deficiencies that either definitely, most likely, or probably contributed to the deaths of 67 patients. As a result, the cases were referred back to the local coroner.

In a report released on Tuesday, Coroner Fiona Wilcox criticized the findings of the review, claiming they were “baseless” and not conducted according to guidance.

She also questioned the validity of the initial warnings about the morale rate, saying they did not reflect the complexity of the patients being studied.

Coroner Wilcox also criticized NHS Improvement for placing restrictions on the unit on the surgeries it was allowed to carry out. She said the reviews had caused “unjustified damage to the department of cardiac surgery’s reputation that will take years to repair.”

The report added: “That limitations in education, the collapse of research and the departure of staff continue to damage not only cardiac surgery at SGH but also the broader field of cardiac surgery.”

The restrictions placed on the trust’s operations in 2018 were lifted in April 2021.

St George’s University Hospital Foundation Trust has been contacted for comment.

- Advertisement -
Latest news
- Advertisement -
Related news
- Advertisement -


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here