Hospital acts on 'potential concerns' over heart clinician
One of the West's leading hospitals has restricted the work of one of its heart specialists amid concerns about their clinical practice, it emerged yesterday.
"Potential concerns" were raised about the consultant cardiologist at Royal Cornwall Hospital Treliske (RCHT) in Truro following routine screening.
It is the second time the work of senior clinician at the biggest hospital in Cornwall, on the outskirts of Truro, has been called in to question in recent years.
The hospital already faces a multi-million pound payout to at least 130 women who have joined together for mass action over a series of alleged blunders by former obstetrician Rob Jones.
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Director for Medicine Andy Virr said the RCHT had restricted the clinical practice of the cardiologist as a precaution while it investigated further.
"Patients need not contact the Trust directly but we will write to them individually and contact their GP if any concern is identified," he said.
"We will always act to put patients first and be honest when we do not meet the high standards we expect of ourselves."
In a statement, Mr Virr added the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust was committed to improving clinical practice and following the principles of the Francis report – compiled following the high-profile failings at Stafford Hospital.
The trust was criticised by Sir Roger Boyle last week, the former government heart "tsar" who quit as one of its non-executive members in June.
Sir Roger said the hospital's cardiology department had "hundreds" of non-emergency patients on its waiting list.
He said: "There are a lot of patients who have been referred to cardiology specialists who are on a so-called pending list awaiting a decision as to whether they need further investigation or treatment."
In a separate statement, Mr Virr admitted the trust currently has 275 patients waiting for cardiology outpatient follow-up appointments and a further 82 patients waiting for a planned cardiac investigation, such as angiograms.
He said all patients will be seen by the trust by the end of November.
He said the backlog was due to "high demand and limited capacity at the trust" but outlined action taking place to remedy the situation.
"We have already put on additional clinics, recruited locum doctors and will shortly go to advert for two permanent consultant cardiologists," he said. "We have also undertaken a review to assess any risk to patients waiting longer than we would like and patients are being seen based on both their need and length of wait."