Children's operating theatres not safe

Posted by Samantha Ward on

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I was shocked to read an article in the Mail Online which describes practices in the operating department at Liverpool's Alder Hey Hospital as 'unsafe'.

An investigation by the Care Quality Commission, instigated by concerned staff, is due to reveal it's findings soon. 

In a separate report, undertaken by the Trust's Director of Nursing, it was found that children's lives are frequently put at risk by staff carrying out tasks they are not competent or confident to perform.  The report appears to have revealed a high pressure environment in which excessive emphasis is placed on meeting targets and avoiding cancellations at any cost.  A failure to report clinical incidents and near misses was also identified which could suggest the problem may be even more serious than it first appears. A spokesperson at the hospital acknowledged they had experienced 'difficulties within the theatre team for some time' but that issues were were being addressed. 

It was recognised that a change in the culture of the department would take time.  It would indeed appear that there is a deeply ingrained culture of risk and a failure to meet expected standards of nursing and surgical care and I hope, now these problems have been publicly identified, that swift changes are made in order that the surgical care provided at Alder Hey is of the highest standard possible, which is no less than its patients deserve.  It is unfortunate that the otherwise overall high standard of care provided by the hospital has been overshadowed by this current situation, however the Trust should strive for the highest standards across the board.

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About the Author

Photograph of Samantha Ward

Sam is a Registered Nurse with 17 years' experience working in the NHS. She uses her medical and nursing knowledge and experience to liaise with clients.

Samantha Ward
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