Spinal operations cancelled following hospital deaths

SPINAL operations at Warrington & Halton Hospitals have been cancelled until further notice following two patient deaths.

Warrington & Halton NHS Trust has taken the decision to suspend all spinal surgery until further notice following four serious incidents, including two deaths.

So far 240 procedures, including 160 operations and 80 spinal injections have been cancelled.

The Royal College of Surgeons has been invited to undertake a comprehensive review of the Trust’s current spinal services at the beginning of November.

Professor Simon Constable, medical director and deputy chief executive said:“We have made the decision to temporarily suspend our spinal surgery at Warrington and Halton Hospitals following the identification of four serious incidents; involving spinal surgery patients over a six month period.

“Sadly, two of these incidents were patient deaths, early indications suggest these were related to medical complications and not the surgery itself, but these cases are now subject to the external review. Although these incidents appear very different from each other, as a precautionary measure, the Trust, working with our commissioners and regulators, has temporarily stopped doing spinal procedures, until a full external review has been undertaken.

“The Trust and Commissioners have invited The Royal College of Surgeons to undertake a comprehensive review of our current spinal services at the beginning of November; this will help inform any appropriate actions or decisions regarding the future service provision.

“We understand that this may cause concern for patients on our waiting list or being referred in to our services and we sincerely apologise for this. Patient safety and welfare is our priority and we are in the process of contacting all patients awaiting spinal surgery at Warrington and Halton Hospitals to advise them of the options available to them. We will do our best to support patients at this time.”

Last year Warrington & Halton NHS Trust had 5,639 outpatient appointments in spinal surgery and carried out 1674 spinal procedures across both sites.

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