NHS review into hospital where Warminster youngster died

This Is Wiltshire: Sean Turner Sean Turner

An independent review is to be held into a hospital's paediatric cardiac
unit following concern about its treatment of newborn babies and young
children who died or suffered complications, including Sean Turner from Warminster.

Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, medical director of NHS England, confirmed
the inquiry will take place at Bristol Children's Hospital, which is
accused of a catalogue of neglect and mistreatment of babies and
children with heart problems.

He said Sir Ian Kennedy, a lawyer who specialises in the law and ethics
of healthcare, has agreed in principle to oversee the review.

Sir Bruce said in a statement yesterday: "We have today had a very
important meeting with the families of children who died at Bristol.

"My deputy medical director Mike Bewick and I have listened with great
care to their concerns about the care their children received.

"I would like to thank them for the dignified and powerful way they have
talked to us.

"We collectively concluded that the most effective course of action
might be to put in place an independent review of the care at the
Trust's paediatric cardiac unit.

"It was clear that, in the interests of everyone, such a review would
need to be independent of the NHS. It must be led by the families
involved. It must be their review.

"I have already taken soundings from Sir Ian Kennedy who has agreed in
principle to take such a review forward should the families wish him to
do. I will now ask Sir Ian to meet the families and to work with them to
see if they can come to the scope and terms of reference that the
families want."

Last year it emerged around ten families were believed to be taking legal
action against the trust, including seven whose children died following
treatment at the hospital.

Previously some had spoken out about the ''inept care'' of the young
patients and called for a public inquiry into what they considered to be
''chronically low standards''.

Among parents that have complained are Steve and Yolanda Turner, whose
son Sean Turner died in March 2012 from a brain haemorrhage after
previously suffering a cardiac arrest - six weeks after he underwent
vital corrective heart surgery at the hospital.

Just last month at an inquest into his death they gave harrowing
accounts of how they begged doctors and nurses on Ward 32 to help their
desperately ill son.

Mr and Mrs Turner claim their son's death was not isolated and other children with heart problems have died at the
hospital.

They claim ward hygiene was poor, staff were incompetent and that Sean
was neglected to the point where he had an avoidable cardiac arrest.

They came forward publicly after being struck by the similarities of
Sean's death to an earlier tragedy. Cardiff youngster Luke Jenkins,
seven, was expected to make a full recovery after successful corrective
surgery at the hospital, but died after suffering a cardiac arrest on a
bank holiday within a week of his operation.

His heart stopped for 43 minutes before he was resuscitated, after which
he underwent exploratory surgery. He died the following day.

His death in April 2012 was due in part to the duty surgeon having to be
urgently called in from home on Good Friday when Luke collapsed,
something admitted by hospital bosses.

Junior nursing staff lost vital time because they did not know where
resuscitation equipment was kept, it later emerged.

The emergency team was also unfamiliar with the equipment because
cardiac arrest was rare in the ward environment, the hospital claimed.

In both cases the children were transferred from the intensive care unit
to Ward 32 too rapidly, according to their parents.

Both sets of relatives believe that, but for substandard after-surgery
care on the ward, their children would be alive.

Both claim that once on the ward they were increasingly anxious at the
reduced level of care they felt their children received.

But they said that in both cases rising concerns were dismissed by ward
staff who appeared too busy and too few to care properly for patients.

A spokesman for University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust said
it welcomed the review and hoped it would "restore trust and confidence
in the service, which has learnt much from the experiences of these
families".

The trust's acting chief executive Deborah Lee said: "It is very
positive that the families who have raised concerns will be at the heart
of shaping this review and our aim now is to work in partnership with
them and Sir Ian Kennedy to demonstrate the safety and quality of the
service, and to address any residual concerns that the review may
highlight.

"For the families who continue to rely on our service, and the staff who
work continue committedly to deliver the very best care, it is critical
to remind ourselves that this service is delivering good clinical
outcomes and, importantly, a positive experience for families - in our
most recent survey of parents 98% said they had received excellent, very
good or good care.

"It saddens me greatly that we have a group of families that believe we
have let them down and we will continue to do our utmost to ensure that
no other family experiences care in our services in the way that these
families did."

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