Alder Hey is no longer a 'world class' hospital

Royal College of Surgeons criticises Europe's largest children's unit over paediatric surgical care

A report into surgical standards at Europe's largest children's hospital, which was prompted by the concerns of two whistleblowers, has found that it no longer provides "world-class" care.

The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) was asked by Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool to review 20 cases covering a six-year period after concerns were raised about performance in the paediatric surgery department, as reported in The Indepdendent On Sunday.

Following a visit in May, the RCS team found the hospital was providing a "safe surgical service" but that it was no longer a national leader.

The RCS report said that in five cases the care was "sub-optimal" or the clinical governance appeared weak. It also highlighted inadequate consent procedures, failure to robustly assess trainees and delays in reviewing deaths.

The RCS found that the management and investigation of whistleblowers' disclosures "had not been optimal" and urged Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust to review its policies.

The RCS made 24 recommendations in August, to be implemented by the trust within three to six months. These include more support for consultants and a review of operation consent practices, especially in relation to new surgical techniques.

It also advised that all deaths be reviewed within eight weeks rather than the 12 months it can currently take. According to the report, managers admitted last year that Alder Hey's regular mortality and morbidity meetings were not fit for purpose; a new system has been in place since February.

The report said: "Alder Hey is not attaining world-class standards of care or... research in the department of paediatric surgery... although it has been acknowledged to be a national leader in the past, on the evidence the panel reviewed relating to clinical case management, clinical governance and research output, the department would not merit such a ranking today."

Louise Shepherd, the chief executive, said the recommendations were helpful and the trust had started "putting actions in place to ensure Alder Hey continues to be a leading children's trust".

Both whistleblowers had also raised their concerns with the Care Quality Commision, which said: "We will now inspect unannounced and seek further assurance that they are taking these concerns seriously. If we are not satisfied, we may consider enforcement action."

Alder Hey: The history

1914 Alder Hey opens, intended as a workhouse for infirm paupers.

1941 The world's first neonatal surgical unit opens there.

1999 Alder Hey's part in the national organ retention scandal comes to light. Body parts from 800 infants and 1,500 foetuses were retained and stored without permission.

2001 Redfern report criticises bosses at Alder Hey for failing to supervise a rogue pathologist and not properly dealing with complaints.

2003 A £5m out-of-court settlement is reached for organ scandal families.

2004 Concerns are raised about trainee surgeon Pierina Kapur by her colleagues. She qualifies as a consultant in 2005 but goes on to accidentally remove the wrong organ from a baby in 2008.

2007 Whistleblowers start raising concerns about surgery department.

Jan 2011 The Independent on Sunday publishes a year-long investigation into the bullying culture and safety procedures in the surgery unit. Alder Hey denies the allegations.

May 2011 The Royal College of Surgeons conduct a week-long site review, leading to to 24 recommendations.

Nov 2011 RCS report concludes that Alder Hey surgery department is no longer "world class".

Suggested Topics
News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

    £600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

    Commercial Litigation Associate

    Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

    Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

    £65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

    Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

    £40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

    Day In a Page

    Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

    The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

    What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
    Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

    Finding the names for America’s shame

    The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
    Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

    Inside a church for Born Again Christians

    As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
    Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

    Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

    Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
    Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

    Incredible survival story of David Tovey

    Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
    Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

    Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

    The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

    Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

    Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
    German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

    Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

    Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
    BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

    BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

    The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
    Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

    Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

    Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
    How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

    Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

    Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
    Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

    Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

    Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
    10 best reed diffusers

    Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

    Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

    Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

    There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
    Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

    Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

    It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little