Date Published: 9 October 2008

Review of heart transplant services at Harefield hospital

The Healthcare Commission today (Thursday) confirmed that it was working jointly with the National Specialised Commissioning team (NSC) to review heart transplant services at Harefield Hospital.

The NSC last week notified the Commission of a rise in mortality rates following heart transplants at the hospital.

The Commission liaised with the NSC immediately to engage an independent surgeon and cardiologist, both of whom specialise in heart transplants. They will review the care of those patients who died between January and September this year.

The review will determine whether the care that the patients received was appropriate. They will also consider whether there were any common factors that could have contributed to the deaths.

The clinical experts will report to the Healthcare Commission and the NSC in one month. When it has considered the findings of the review, the Commission will decide whether further investigation or other action, is necessary.

Nigel Ellis, head of investigations at the Commission, said: “We must remember that heart transplantation is extremely high-risk surgery carried out on very ill patients. Nonetheless, there are a range of measures that can be put in place to mitigate that risk and we want to make sure these are in place at Harefield Hospital.

The trust did the right thing in bringing the increase in mortality rates to our attention. It’s now important that the review is thorough and swift, in order to give reassurance to those people who are on the waiting list for a heart transplant at Harefield Hospital.

I should add that, if a suitable donor organ does become available during the course of the review, the advice of the independent clinical experts will be sought before any transplantation takes place. All decisions will be taken in the best interest of the individual patient.”

 

Source: The Healthcare Commission (England, UK).

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