• St George’s notes risk that some surgeons may leave when an independent review into cardiac unit is published
  • New associate medical director began carrying out all high risk cases
  • Follows history of huge rows in the unit

The hospital trust at the centre of a governance scandal has warned that some of its surgeons may stop working when an independent review into one of its specialist units is published.

St George’s University Healthcare Foundation Trust was forced to apologise and reach a settlement with a senior surgeon in its cardiac surgery department in May, after she had been earlier stopped from working.

This came after a long-running series of disputes within the unit and accusations that patient care had suffered as a result.

A court had ruled Marjan Jahangiri had been improperly suspended by the trust’s management and in a joint statement it said an undisclosed settlement had been reached.

A report to the south London provider’s board last week said there was a risk “that some consultant cardiac surgeons, as a result of the external mortality review report being published, may feel that they are not able to work”.

NHS Improvement, which commissioned the review late last year, has not confirmed when the report will be released.

In July, the trust’s cardiac surgery steering group rated this risk as “extreme” but downgraded it to “moderate” in August. It did not explain why.

In July, the steering group said there was an “extreme” risk of an “adverse impact on patient safety within the service, and poor adherence to trust values on poor behaviours from within cardiac surgery team, anaesthetics, theatre staff and other key groups”.

It said this risk had been reduced to “high” by the stipulation that only associate medical director for cardiac surgery Steven Livesey, who was appointed on secondment in late 2018, will operate on high risk cardiac cases.

The impact of this decision on the rest of the cardiac surgery team is unclear.

A St George’s spokesman would not clarify in what capacity, if any, Professor Jahangiri was working for the trust.

The surgeon had run one of the largest cardiac surgeries in England for the trust, performing hundreds of procedures a year.

HSJ has approached Professor Jahangiri for comment.


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