Surgery suspended due to risk of harm to children

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Children’s surgery has been suspended at a private hospital in Surrey after the care regulator for England reported serious concerns about standards of care there.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) yesterday filed a report on failings at the Mount Alvernia Hospital in Guildford. However shortly after it was posted on the CQC’s website, the report was taken down to allow for further discussions with BMI, the hospital owners.

As a result of the investigation the hospital has voluntarily suspended children’s surgery and apologised for the “entirely unacceptable” failings at its 76-bed hospital.

According to the report, patients at Mount Alvernia “were put at significant risk of harm to a life-threatening level”. In particular, children admitted for surgery were “at risk of unsafe and inappropriate care and treatment”.

The inspections in December 2012 and January 2013 revealed a number of alarming concerns, including the inappropriate use of Do Not Resuscitate (DNR). One patient died there after a consultant told staff not to resuscitate the patient, who was still being treated, despite there being no DNR form in place.

It was also found that there was a high risk of infection resulting from the lack of adequate ventilation in the acute care unit.

Stephen Collier, the chief executive of BMI Healthcare, admitted that patients had been let down at the hospital and that those affected have already been contacted.

The CQC say they will continue to monitor the hospital closely, and that they intend to publish full details of their investigation “as soon as possible”.

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