Former Hospital Boss Reveals 'Patient Safety Fears'

Mr Hopkins Managed the University Hospital Of Wales In Cardiff


The former manager of a hospital in Wales has highlighted his patient safety fears after a botched operation left him with bladder and nerve damage.

Russell Hopkins, who used to manage the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff had a hip operation at Llandough Hospital in south Wales in 2011, but complications meant he suffered a bleed in his spinal column, reports the BBC.

The former executive now lives with constant bladder difficulties and this has made his quality of life substantially lower.

Mr Hopkins, who was previously a chair of the British Medical Association in Wales, as well as a former consultant oral maxillofacial surgeon, was one of eight doctors that wrote to the Telegraph calling for greater staffing levels on NHS wards at weekends.

The clinician believes a lack of physicians and nurses means avoidable deaths are becoming more and more common.

But while others have blamed poor NHS management for the problems facing public sector medical care in UK hospitals, Mr Hopkins believes it is the fault of politicians who have failed to effectively manage budgets or hire enough personnel.

In his own personal case, Mr Hopkins believes a lack of staffing caused his bladder disabilities.

"When you get things like [a spinal bleed, it must be] decompressed within eight to 12 hours at best ... to relieve the pressure. I didn't see a senior doctor despite me telling the nurses there were things wrong," the former consultant stated.

"Nobody paid any attention until my daughter - who's a hospital consultant - rang up from London and said 'what's wrong with my father'?"

A spokesperson for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said it was aware of Mr Hopkins' concerns about its care and was working hard to make sure enough doctors are available to treat patients that come in with complex ailments.

It is unclear if Mr Hopkins has launched legal action against the trust or whether any compensation has been paid.

Expert Opinion
This story is like so many we see through our work acting for victims and families who have lost loved ones as a result of substandard care or errors during all kinds of treatment.

"Patient safety should always be the priority for all parts of the NHS and it is vital that steps are taken to review cases of this nature to ensure that lessons can be learned to prevent further mistakes in all kinds of treatment.

"This is also not the first time that concerns over staffing levels have been raised and it is imperative that steps are taken to investigate both these concerns and others to guarantee that problems can be identified and comprehensively addressed."
Lisa Jordan, Partner