30 June 2016
University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust welcomes publication of two independent reports into heart services at its Children’s Hospital
The reports were from Eleanor Grey QC and the Care Quality
Commission in response to well-publicised concerns raised by the
families of some children treated at the hospital between 2010 and
Robert Woolley, Chief Executive of the Trust, said:
"We fully accept the findings of these reports and welcome their
publication as a way to learn from mistakes.
"We are deeply sorry for the things we got wrong - for when our
care fell below acceptable standards, for not supporting some
families as well as we could have and for not always learning
adequately from our mistakes. This undoubtedly added to the
distress of families at an already very upsetting time for them. We
didn't get it right for these families, and I'd like to apologise
to the families unreservedly, on behalf of everyone at the
"We're pleased that the review found evidence of really good
care and acknowledges the substantial improvements we have made,
but we want to get our care right for everyone, every time,
especially so when it involves children.
"If any family has further questions or concerns about their
child's care we urge them to contact us. We are committed to
doing all we can to answer questions and concerns and to support
these families as best we can.
"While we fully accept the findings of the reports, it is
important to reassure children and parents who are using or are
about to use our services that our care has been independently
assessed as safe and effective. The Care Quality Commission
assessed our children's heart services as Good in its September
2014 inspection. And this year's National Congenital Heart
Disease Audit Report, which rates heart services across the
country, found our outcomes to be comparable with other
"Parents have played an important role in bringing about
significant changes in our practice and improving our care.
This approach has already brought improvements and addressed some
of the recommendations of the review. We are committed to
building on the work we have done so far by studying the
recommendations in these reports and rapidly making improvements
where we need to do so, and by strengthening our partnership
between families and staff. We know this is the basis of
delivering safe and effective high quality care."
Dr Bryony Strachan, Clinical Chair of the Women's and Children's
Division of the Trust, said:
"We know that children's heart surgery is highly complex and
carries significant risk. Our skilled and dedicated doctors, nurses
and wider clinical team work tirelessly to ensure we give children
and their families the best care we can.
"We are pleased the Care Quality Commission's expert panel and
the independent review noted examples of good practice. We have
spent an extra £2.5 million since 2011 to improve our care and
treatment. We provide more intensive care for children who are very
sick through our new high dependency unit. We have invested £1
million to provide more staff to care for children with heart
conditions, and our children's heart ward now has one nurse to
every three patients, and one for every two children on our high
"We have also improved how we involve and support parents. We
have an extra psychologist to help parents and children as they
prepare for surgery. We hold dedicated meetings where we ask
parents how we can do better. And we now have an expanded
bereavement and family support team in place, specifically to help
families at the time when they need support most."
Notes to editors:
The reports published today are:
- An Independent Review of children's heart services in Bristol,
led by Eleanor Grey QC, which was commissioned following complaints
about our services by a number of families whose children we cared
for between 2010 and 2014.
- An independent audit and review by the Care Quality Commission
of the medical records of a sample of children who were in our care
between January 2012 and December 2014 for surgical treatment for
heart conditions they were born with.
Media contact: University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust
press office (0117) 3423629
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