Report slams ‘inadequate’ skills of NHS hospital theatre staff

The skill level of surgery support staff at Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (BCH) has been branded as ‘inadequate’ and must be improved, according to a Healthcare Commission report published today.


The knowledge of hospital theatre staff about specific procedures and equipment was one of 12 main concerns highlighted in the healthcare watchdog’s report.


The report comes just days after the commission criticised the “appalling” standards in leadership and management at Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust.


Anna Walker, chief executive at the Healthcare Commission, admitted the findings from the BCH report suggested there were some potential risks in the way care was being provided.


She said: “While we have no evidence of serious incidents causing harm to patients, the standard of care has not been as good as it should have been in some cases. The response to safety concerns has been slower than ideal. It is deeply concerning that serious issues were raised, but not properly or rapidly addressed over several months.”


In the first six months of 2008, the trust admitted over 2,000 patients more than in the previous year. It had more than 10,000 additional outpatient attendances and at times had bed occupancy rates above 98%.


Last week, the Department for Health told Personnel Today there was a need for better leadership within the NHS. A spokesperson said: “Patient safety is the highest priority for the Department and for the NHS. We have acknowledged for some time the need for stronger leadership within the NHS and have worked to ensure that this need is addressed.”


Earlier this year the House of Commons select committee warned that poor management across the NHS was stifling its services to patients.

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