Two deaths following operations at the Surgicentre

TWO deaths following surgery at the Surgicentre are being investigated and the threat of enforcement action – which could include closure of the privately-run facility – is looming.

The patients died after routine elective and low risk operations at the centre on the Lister Hospital site.

And now Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland and the primary care trust, which holds the NHS pursestrings, are both calling for immediate action.

Investigations have been launched by the CQC, which is the independent health regulator, and the PCT.

A CQC spokesman said: “An unannounced inspection of the Lister Surgicentre by CQC in February found serious concerns around the identification and management of risk.

“Inspectors also found that the waiting times were being breached, with no evidence that people waiting for treatment were being appropriately prioritised.

“At this point, CQC issued a warning notice demanding improvements.”

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The spokesman added: “Another unannounced inspection of the Lister Surgicentre will be taking place shortly; following this, we will consider what enforcement action might be appropriate.

“Our enforcement powers can include suspending or cancelling registration.

“This new information about post-operative deaths may inform any action we take, but this is not something we can consider until we are assured we have all the relevant information on these cases.”

PCT spokesman Lesley Watts said: “It is uncommon for deaths to occur following routine surgery. We are treating these as serious incidents that need thorough investigation.

“We are aware of the CQC’s report.

“The regulator’s review reports that the service is not compliant with certain required standards and that the provider of the service – Clinicenta – must take action.

“The PCT will continue to intensively monitor the management and delivery of services at the Lister Surgicentre.”

The Surgicentre, run by Clinicenta Carillion, opened to patients in September last year, dealing with routine operations and opthamology.

It is based on the Lister Hospital site, but remains autonomous from the NHS trust which runs the hospital.

The Surgicentre’s medical director Dr Mark O’Flynn said: “Investigations are standard practice following a patient death to determine whether improvements can be made by any of the organisations involved in the care of a patient.

“The patients were both transferred back to the local trust some days after their operations, so we are working closely with our NHS colleagues to carry out the investigation.

“Until this is concluded and the results made public, and out of respect for the families of the patients, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this point.”