Brighton hospital bosses redact safety report

Posted On 22 May 2021 at 12:37 pm

Bosses at the NHS trust than runs Brighton’s main hospitals have defended their decision to redact a report from the Royal College of Surgeons.

It was one of a number of safety reports highlighted by the BBC television programme Panorama this week.

The BBC said that University Hospitals Sussex had heavily redacted the report after an external review of the trust’s troubled neurosurgery department by the Royal College of Surgeons.

The department has one of the longest patient waiting lists at the trust which runs the Royal Sussex County Hospital, the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital and the Sussex Eye Hospital, in Brighton, as well as other hospitals in Shoreham, Worthing, Chichester and Haywards Heath.

The BBC quoted Healthwatch Brighton and Hove chief executive David Liley calling for the report to published.

Mr Liley said: “We’ve no evidence there is any smoking gun but, of course, if there is, it should be in the public domain.

“If there isn’t, we should have the reassurance.”

The BBC said that the review was uncovered as part of a Panorama investigation into unpublished patient safety reports.

The current affairs programme said: “Serious patient safety issues are being buried in confidential hospital reports.

“Freedom of Information requests revealed 111 reports, written by medical royal colleges, which NHS trusts have a duty to share.

“Eighty reports were given to the BBC but only 26 had been shared in full with regulators and 16 published.”

Panorama added: “The Department of Health would not comment on whether it might change the law to ensure publication.”

The BBC said: “The trust said in a letter that revealing more details would ‘inhibit the free and frank’ exchange of views and would have a ‘chilling effect’ on the willingness of staff to participate in any future reviews.

“However, it said it had decided to disclose additional information where it ‘portrayed the services positively or would likely cause minimal harm’.

“It said it hoped this would ‘provide assurance and demonstrate that patient satisfaction associated with these services was ‘good’ and that the quality of these services was ‘high’.

“In one section about the management of ‘complications and surgical techniques’ the trust redacted all of the review’s findings, with the exception of a single sentence that showed the hospital was not ‘an outlier in any outcomes when compared with peers’.

“In a factual section, the number of incidents was included in a table.

“The trust chose to reveal the number of incidents resulting in ‘no harm’ and ‘low’ harm but redacted the number of incidents resulting in ‘moderate’ and ‘severe’ harm.”

And the BBC quoted the trust’s medical director Dr Rob Haigh saying that the royal college was invited to “share their expert views on how we could improve” – and, while no safety issues were found, a “number of useful recommendations” were made.

Mr Haigh said: “We have made improvements aligned to these recommendations and the college has now concluded its work with us.”

He added that the full report could not be released as it “contains confidential information” but the trust said that it had spoken to the Care Quality Commission about the key issues in the review and its approach to improvements.

The Panorama episode Hospital secrets uncovered is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

  1. Mary Reply

    Brighton Hospital is an inefficient huge appalling dump. They still have mixed wards. Some staff seem to be unqualified or not even speak proper English.

  2. Hove Guy Reply

    The BBC reporting a cover up at Brighton hospitals? Surely that is a case of “the pot calling the kettle black”? Judging by the current scandal in the news, the BBC needs to put its own house in order.
    Nevertheless the Royal Sussex Hospital does need a shake up. Mary is right about the problenm with staff not speaking proper English. On more than one occasion I have phoned to inquire about the condition of one of the patients, but just had to give up, as I could not make head nor tail of what the person at the other end was saying. Also, last year I visited a patient there, during the lockdown, and, although I wore a mask all the time I was inside the building, no one bothered to check my temperature before I went in.

    • Some Guy Reply

      Just FYI temperature checks in hospitals are essentially useless as a large number of people there will be running hot – unrelated to being COVID positive.
      The issue with English can be solved with you opening your ears and maybe not being so racist.

      • Chaz. Reply

        If there is nothing to hide, there is nothing to redact.
        One day you will wake up.

      • Hove Guy Reply

        What is racist about stating the fact that the person at the other end of the phone cannot speak English clearly? It doesn’t bother me where they are from, or what nationality. I do expect them to be able to communicate with the public in their job. And this is a hospital we are talking about, not a nightclub. As it happens, I have many friends and relatives who come from abroad, with whom I have no trouble conversing.

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