The aftershocks of last year’s independent inquiry into Bristol’s histopathology services are still being felt across the city through a series of reviews.
According to University Hospitals Bristol Foundation Trust’s June board papers, Monitor is reviewing the inquiry’s findings to assure itself matters raised in the report “are not indicative of wider governance concerns”. In the meantime it has given the trust an amber/red governance risk rating for 2010-11.
The inquiry, sparked after clinicians from the neighbouring North Bristol Trust made allegations in Private Eye of serious misdiagnosis by University Hospitals Bristol’s histopathology department, concluded that any mistakes were within an acceptable margin of error.
However, it was critical of the “strained” relationship between the two trusts’ histopathology departments and recommended a joint service be set up. It said matters had “escalated out of all proportion” due to the time it took for the concerns to be addressed.
Despite not coming in for any criticism in the original inquiry, NHS Bristol’s board decided to commission an independent review of its involvement, which recently concluded that although it acted appropriately it could have responded to concerns more quickly.
Meanwhile, the trusts have jointly appointed Dr Robert Pitcher as peacemaker and clinical lead for both departments. According to North Bristol’s June board papers, “significant progress” has since been made towards a single service.
Clinicians at University Hospitals Bristol will no doubt have been relieved to hear the excessive scrutiny may be coming to an end after governors voted not to support a public inquiry.