Complex heart surgery patients diverted to Preston and Blackburn after Bolton safety warning
PATIENTS needing complex vascular surgery will have to travel to Preston and Blackburn following a warning that the Royal Bolton Hospital was ignoring safety guidelines for the procedure.
The Bolton NHS Foundation Trust is in discussions with other trusts in Lancashire and South Cumbria to form a federated network for vascular surgery.
The announcement comes after the Bolton trust was named as one of 21 in the UK performing abdominal aortic aneurysm repairs — even though it carries out too few operations to meet clinical standards.
Vascular experts recommend hospitals carry out a minimum number of highly technical operations to ensure surgeons’ skills are up to date.
Royal Bolton chiefs say the new network will improve the quality of the service, but do not know when the changes will come into effect.
Steve Hodgson, acting medical director, said: “We are taking an active part in discussions that will lead to a federated vascular network for Lancashire and South Cumbria.
“The main aim is to ensure that the Bolton population has access to a high quality vascular surgery service. In- patient surgery which includes abdominal aortic aneurysm repair will be on two sites — Preston and Blackburn, but not Cumbria. At present it is not possible to predict the likely timescale.”
An abdominal aortic aneurysm is a potentially life-threatening weakening in the wall of the major artery.
The Vascular Society recommends that, over a three-year period, each trust which performs aneurysm repairs should conduct at least 100 operations to maintain appropriate levels of skill.
But Dr Foster found the 21 trusts had performed less than 100 of these procedures over the last three years and was exposing patients to risk.
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