新加坡六合彩

The deaths of some rheumatology patients to be referred to Viscount

General hospital. Picture: JON GUEGAN. (38232000)

THE deaths of some rheumatology patients are to be referred to the Viscount, as health officials believe they could have been caused by treatment at the General Hospital.

Clinicians are reviewing the deaths of 182 such patients since January 2019, following last year鈥檚 highly critical Royal College of Physicians report, which described care in rheumatology as 鈥渨ell below鈥 what would be considered acceptable.

The Viscount will consider whether inquests should be opened following the referral of cases.

Speaking at a Health and Social Security Scrutiny Panel hearing, deputy medical director Simon West said that the process involves a 鈥渕ortality learning review鈥.

This comprises a review by an independent rheumatologist, an independent physician and then a panel meeting with two other senior doctors.

Mr West explained that, if they all felt collectively that they believed there was a concern that needed to be raised to the Viscount, 鈥渢hen that would occur鈥.

He continued: 鈥淪o far we have reviewed, I think, 90 records 鈥 and out of that a very small proportion of patients have come to the need to actually make notification to the Viscount.

鈥淭hat process will continue until all the records have been seen and then we will have to meet with the Viscount to determine what the Viscount wishes to do.鈥

Deputy Jonathan Renouf asked: 鈥淐an I just clarify 鈥 when you say they鈥檝e been sent to the Viscount is that because the assessment of all of the professionals involved was that it is possible, or likely in fact, that deaths were caused as a result of the treatment?鈥

Mr West replied: 鈥淭hat is correct.鈥

Deputy Lucy Stephenson asked for specifics about the number of cases referred.

Mr West said: 鈥淚 can鈥檛 recall the exact number that we feel need to be referred to the Viscount. In the first cohort of patients there were 30 patients reviewed. That distilled down to 11 patients that we wished to undertake further review of. We reviewed down to a small number 鈥 in the order of ones 鈥 that we felt might need to be looked at by the Viscount.鈥

He added: 鈥淏ut as I say, we鈥檝e got to review all of those before we then make any further recommendations.鈥

Deputy Stephenson asked: 鈥淎t what stage are families informed?鈥

Mr West explained that there is 鈥渁 duty of candour process鈥 and that none of the families would be notified 鈥渦ntil the Viscount makes a determination鈥, although he said they would be aware the process was taking place.

鈥淭hat would be the normal practice, in terms of review 鈥 decision whether something needs to be taken forward with the family and then speaking to the family.鈥

He noted that doing otherwise would be 鈥渟peculating鈥 and that it would be 鈥渦nfair鈥 to give families 鈥渦ndue concern and raise anxieties鈥.

Health Minister Tom Binet also stressed that 鈥渋t鈥檚 a matter for the Viscount鈥 and that 鈥渙ne has to wait until we find out what the Viscount has to say鈥.

Speaking to the JEP following the hearing, Deputy Renouf said: 鈥淚 think we have got a serious situation here where it is looking likely that people died as a result of care received in the Hospital.鈥

He acknowledged that it was 鈥渁 difficult balancing act鈥 regarding what stage families should be informed, but urged the government to be 鈥渁s open, transparent and timely as possible鈥 throughout the whole process.

A report on whether the deaths of some former hospital patients might be linked to their rheumatology treatment is to be presented to the Health Advisory Board at its July meeting.

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