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Bristol Children’s Hospital ‘Still in Denial’ About Deaths, Say Parents

NHS chief Sir Bruce Keogh has ordered an independent review into the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children following the deaths of newborn babies and infants – but parents say the original recommendations following the tragedies have still not been carried out.

Families whose children died following serious neglect at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children have claimed the hospital is still “in denial” about mistakes that cost their children their lives.

Their comments came after NHS chief Sir Bruce Keogh ordered an independent review into the hospital following the deaths of newborn babies and young children.

Sir Bruce, the country’s most senior doctor ordered a major shake-up of how parents are treated by the NHS when their children die or suffer serious complications following heart surgery.

He issued the edict after several families alleged a “catalogue of neglect and poor care” in children’s cardiac services at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children.

He has also asked Sir Ian Kennedy, who led the inquiry into the deaths of dozens of babies at Bristol Royal Infirmary in the Nineties, to conduct a new investigation into the latest cases.

Sir Bruce, the medical director of the NHS, announced the inquiry following an emotional three-hour meeting on Friday with seven families whose children either died or were left seriously ill following treatment in Bristol.

Yesterday, Faye Valentine, the mother of seven-year-old Luke Jenkins who died just days after he was moved out of intensive care following heart surgery at BCH said: “We are very glad to see Sir Bruce Keogh take action and recognise our concerns.”

Mrs Valentine, 28, from Cardiff added: “Sir Ian Kennedy carried out the previous review at Bristol when many children died and suffered during the 1990’s and his findings and recommendations did not seem to be carried out so we hope with his knowledge and the cooperation of Sir Bruce’s team, the families involved and the hospital that we can all achieve our aim of making sure Bristol children’s hospital is safe for future patients.

“We are worried that the hospital have been in denial, specifically the management as there are some excellent staff that do work there, but everyone is being let down. We just hope that now the spotlight has been placed further on them that they will stand up and realise they need to carry out action plans and recommendations that may come out of this review.”

Another bereaved parent, Steve Turner whose four-year-old son Sean died during the after-care at the children’s hospital following corrective heart surgery in March 2012, tweeted: Unfortunately Bristol Children’s Hospital’s culture has slipped back the wrong way. Let’s hope Ian Kennedy can pull it up by its boots.”

Last year it emerged around 10 families were believed to be taking legal action against the trust, including seven whose children died after being treated at the hospital.

Previously some had called for a public inquiry into what they claimed to be “chronically low standards”.

A spokesman for University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust said it welcomed the review.

A spokesperson said: “The Trust remains troubled that families whose children we have cared for continue to have concerns about the care provided despite our attempts to respond to these issues. We hope that the meeting this week will help to resolve the families’ outstanding concerns or highlight ways in which the Trust can respond further and we welcome the opportunity to consider feedback from the meeting.

“We have learnt much from the experiences of the families meeting today and have made many changes in areas where shortcomings were highlighted, particularly in how staff communicate with parents.”


Source: The Telegraph

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