Printer Friendly

Staff shortages are 'no threat'.

Byline: Exclusive By Sophie Blakemore

A Midland hospital last night denied claims that a lack of properly trained staff could be putting the lives of heart patients at risk. Two senior sources at Walsgrave Hospital, in Coventry, claimed patients needing heart surgery will have to be treated by general anaesthetists instead of cardiac specialists because of staff shortages.

But the hospital denied it was compromising patient safety and said it planned to allow only one general anaesthetist, with previous experience in cardiac theatres, to work in the heart unit.

In the last 12 months three cardiac anaesthetists have left the cardiology unit forcing specialists to work longer hours to cover. University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, which runs Walsgrave, has been advertising for two cardiac anaesthetists but has not yet appointed anybody.

A senior source close to the hospital claimed the situation was 'totally inadequate' and was placing patients' lives at risk.

'The latest thing is that some of the general anaesthetists want to take on the cardiac lists but that is not right without the appropriate training or three-month refresher course in heart surgery.'

Another member of staff, who did not want to be named, said: 'This shortage of specialists is very worrying as general anaesthetists are going to have to be drafted in to do the job and this needs urgent attention.'

There are currently six cardiac anaesthetists working at the Walsgrave -four full-time and two part-time with the intensive care unit. Last night, Richard Johnson, lead clinician for cardiac anaesthetics at the trust, admitted a general anaesthetist was to be used after refresher training.

'There is no question that we would compromise patient safety in any way by having one of our experienced general consultant anaesthetists join the cardiac team,' he said.

'The consultant already has several years of cardiac anaesthetic experience and in addition to this he will also undertake comprehensive training and assessment in a cardiac centre outside the West Midlands.

'He will then be supervised for a period of time when he returns to Walsgrave Hospital.'

Bill McCulloch, clinical director for anaesthetics, added: 'The idea that general anaesthetists without the proper specialist training could be allowed to anaesthetise heart patients is simply not true.'
COPYRIGHT 2003 Birmingham Post & Mail Ltd
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Aug 22, 2003
Previous Article:Midland police in Soham 'disgrace'.
Next Article:Investors are switching from shares to sunshine.

Related Articles
New school for doctors and nurses.
WHAT'S OP, DOC?; Staff crisis leads to 'waste' of Ulster hospital theatres.
Born again!
Rural hospitals face the threat of closure.
Internal auditor shortage among top challenges.
Letter: Your Say - Our harsh lesson.
Deadly Russia power station blast.
Western diplomats in Pakistan want to import armoured personnel carriers for safety.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters