Damning Alder Hey Hospital Review Leaked

Leading Children's Hospital Urged To Make Improvements Following Internal Review


One of the UK's leading children's hospitals has been told to make safety improvements by one of its own trust executives.

An internal review of the operating theatres at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool uncovered examples of "high risk activity". Leaked details of the assessment have been seen by Channel 4 News.

Concerns had been raised about safety standards in the paediatric surgery unit and the report found numerous cases of substandard practice.

According to the news provider, the review stated: "The level of risk is such that urgent action needs to be implemented to avoid an adverse outcome or serious incident."

There was evidence of mistakes and near-misses not being reported by employees, while some members of staff claimed they felt pressured to carry out work they did not believe to be safe.

The report also suggested the environment at Alder Hey Children's Hospital was not welcoming or child friendly.

Additionally, the internal review - which was carried out by director of nursing Gill Core - said there were no toys for the youngsters to play with and the scrubs used in the operating theatres were "shabby and mismatched".

Channel 4 News also claims the Care Quality Commission had been alerted to the problems at Alder Hey by theatre staff.

Ms Core's report said there is such a lack of faith in the board and senior employees that many workers have a "widespread feeling of hopelessness" that necessary changes will be implemented.

This latest development comes a few years after whistleblowers informed the same news provider about deficiencies at the hospital.

Claims were made in 2009 and 2010 that managers were intimidating and aggressive, while theatre staff complained of exhaustion after working long shifts.

In a statement, hospital chiefs said they were aware of "difficulties within the theatre team" and they have made a long-term commitment to support workers at the site.

Alder Hey Hospital cares for more than 270,000 children a year and plans are in place to open a new purpose-built hospital in the park next door to the current facility in 2015.

Expert Opinion
Whilst the majority of NHS staff do a fantastic job, it is always disappointing and concerning when standards within certain areas of care fall far below what is expected.

“For the review to detail numerous cases of substandard practice suggests there could be systemic failings taking place which need urgent action to protect patient safety.

“The importance of candour was highlighted in the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust public inquiry yet we are still hearing about situations where staff are failing to document errors made and feel unable to speak out about unsafe working practices.

“We now hope to see an urgent investigation by the CQC to discover the root cause of these problems and ensure the Trust takes urgent action to make improvements in these areas so every young patient is given the standard of care they deserve.”
Lisa Jordan, Partner