PERFORMANCE: A Royal College of Surgeons review of 20 cases or case series at the foundation has found five instances of “sub-optimal” care or apparently weak clinical governance.

However, the Royal College concluded that overall surgical care of the patients in the cases reviewed did not fall below generally accepted standards of clinical practice at the time.

The review was prompted by two linked but separate protected disclosures made under the Trust’s whistleblowing policy in June 2010 and January 2011, by two consultant members of the general paediatric surgical team.

The disclosures identified concerns about the management of 14 individual neonatal/general surgical cases, the management of some specific surgical conditions (five case series), and issues of culture and governance within the paediatric general surgical department, including failure to act on concerns about a trainee.

In response, the children’s specialist foundation invited the Royal College of Surgeons to conduct an independent review of the identified cases and of the associated issues within the department.

The reviewers concluded that “overall the surgical care of patients referred to in the specific cases reviewed within the department of paediatric surgery at Alder Hey did not fall below the general standard of acceptable practice prevalent within the UK at the time the events took place”.

However, “in five of the twenty cases/case series that the witnesses identified, either the care given was sub-optimal, or clinical governance appears to have been weak”.

The full report can be found on Alder Hey’s website, via the link below.