A long-awaited investigation into staff relations and services at Oxford Radcliffe Hospital trust's cardiac unit was due to publish its findings yesterday.

The review - by South East regional office, originally due out in the summer - is expected to assess the way the trust 'responds to concerns of senior nursing and other staff in cardiac services. It will also look at the 'way cardiac services are provided at the trust', though patient care and complaints are not included in the review's remit.

It follows the suspension of consultant cardiothoracic surgeon Ravi Pillai last December, after Colette O'Keefe, senior nurse manager of the cardiothoracic unit, made five claims against him.

Three of the claims - including those relating to patient care - were dismissed, and Mr Pillai returned to clinical practice in February.

But in an internal memorandum seen by HSJ, director of personnel and administration Mike Fleming said the 'investigation also concluded that two of the allegations may have substance'. These are understood to concern relations between Mr Pillai and staff at the unit.

Speaking on Tuesday, a spokesman for the Oxford Radcliffe Hospital trust said a further inquiry which followed it was 'still in process'.

But HSJ sources are concerned that the limited remit of the review - which does not include patient care or complaints - could mean that some of the most difficult issues are not addressed. John Radcliffe Infirmary lost its accreditation for cardiac surgery in 1998.

HSJ understands that evidence from Ms O'Keefe to the regional review, run by Jules Dussek, president of the Society of Cardiothoracic Surgeons, Stephen Bridge, chief executive at Papworth Hospital trust, and Wilma MacPherson, director of nursing at Guys and St Thomas' trust, suggests that concerns about patient care date back several years.