Two patients die after 'low risk' ops at Surgicentre

PUBLISHED: 17:00 12 October 2012 | UPDATED: 18:24 15 October 2012




TWO people have died after low risk surgeries at a facility built to treat Welwyn Hatfield patients, it has emerged.

The revelation has sparked an investigation and the threat of enforcement action – which could close the privately-run facility – is looming.

This week Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps described the centre as “a failed project”.

The patients died following routine elective and low risk operations at the Surgicentre site at the Lister Hospital, Stevenage, which is run by private firm Clinicenta Carillion.

Investigations have been launched by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which is the independent health regulator, and the Primary Care Trust NHS Herts.

A spokesman said: “An unannounced inspection of the Lister Surgicentre by CQC in February found serious concerns around the identification and management of risk.

“Inspectors also found that the waiting times were being breached, with no evidence that people waiting for treatment were being appropriately prioritised.

“At this point, CQC issued a warning notice demanding improvements.”

The spokesman added: “Another unannounced inspection of the Lister Surgicentre will be taking place shortly; following this, we will consider what enforcement action might be appropriate.

“Our enforcement powers can include suspending or cancelling registration.

“This new information about post-operative deaths may inform any action we take, but this is not something we can consider until we are assured we have all the relevant information on these cases.”

Following the revelations Times Territory MP Grant Shapps has called for immediate action.

He said: “I’m very worried about this I have been calling for this to be taken over especially as it is really a failed project.

“That centre has been a big concern of mine... I have been to see the previous health secretary Simon Burns with Stephen McPartland from Stevenage to express our concerns and ask for further action.”

The Surgicentre opened to patients in September last year, dealing with routine operations and eye surgery.

It is based on the Lister Hospital site, but remains autonomous from the NHS trust which runs the hospital.

Dr Mark O’Flynn, medical director for Clinicenta, said: “Investigations are standard practice following a patient death to determine whether improvements can be made by any of the organisations involved in the care of a patient.

“The patients were both transferred back to the local Trust some days after their operations, so we are working closely with our NHS colleagues to carry out the investigation.

“Until this is concluded and the results made public, and out of respect for the families of the patients, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this point.”

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