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A private hospital has apologised for paediatric surgery 'failings' identified by the CQC

A private hospital has suspended children’s surgery after the health watchdog raised “serious concerns” about the service.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) demanded immediate improvements at the BMI Mount Alvernia Hospital in Guildford, Surrey, to “protect people coming to harm” following a recent inspection.

In response, it said the hospital has voluntarily suspended children’s surgical admissions and apologised for the “entirely unacceptable” failings.

Stephen Collier, chief executive of BMI Healthcare, said the inspection took place in December 2012 and January 2013.

“The hospital’s practices let BMI and our patients down and I apologise for that,” he said.

“In 2012 we were not maintaining the high standards that we and our regulators demand at Mount Alvernia.

“However our staff responded selflessly and, with a strengthened team and support from our national clinical experts, have ensured that the failings identified at the turn of the year are now fully addressed and that the hospital continues to provide the high quality care for which it is known and which prevail across our other hospitals.”

A report about the inspection was due to be published today by the CQC, but was delayed after the hospital made last-minute representations on two issues, the watchdog said.

A spokesman for the CQC said: “Following the inspection CQC raised serious concerns with the provider and formally warned them that immediate improvements were required to protect people from coming to harm.

“As a result of our concerns being raised with them, BMI agreed to voluntarily suspend children’s surgical admissions at the hospital and to start making other changes required.

“We have continued to monitor the hospital closely. Full details of our inspection will be published shortly.”

BMI is the UK’s largest private hospital group, according to its website.

The CQC has not yet revealed details of the failings, but Mr Collier said he has written to patients who may have been affected by a “particular incident” .

“I want to reassure our patients that the hospital has already been in touch with anyone who may have been affected by a particular incident,” he said.

“I have personally written to all patients who were admitted for treatment at Mount Alvernia in the last year explaining what has happened and providing contact details should they want to discuss the matter further with us.”

He added that BMI have reviewed its other hospitals and found “no similar issues”.

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Readers' comments (3)

  • "However our staff responded selflessly" Were they being selfish up until then?

    "...and with a strengthened team..."
    Wasn't it up to strength at the time it all went wrong?

    Private enterprise and healthcare do not work. The Health Sector isn't about transport, or piping energy, its about human lives and that is incompatible with profit.

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  • Without mentioning the name of this hospital, I have written quite a few comments in NT about my brief negative experiences of working for their bank and the bullying of the staff of which I unwittingly became victim after only a few shifts and which has shocked me to the core. At the time it was used by several insurance companies but I am not sure whether BMI had fully taken over the running of it at that time. I am unable to find any information as to when they took it over.

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  • Safety standards are laid down for paediatric surgery by the Royal College of Surgeons.
    Parents must have been misinformed about the experience of the surgeon and staff. All DGHs have been told in the past to suspend paediatric surgery and refer all children to specialist centres. In comparison to the concerns about risk and heart surgery in Leeds how did this private hospital get away with this. Children deserve the highest standards of surgical safety and should not be operated on or looked after by amateurs. Safety standards must be applied to both NHS and private providers.

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