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St George's Hospital: 250 cardiac unit deaths to be reviewed

Surgeon - library image Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Complex heart operations were moved out of the cardiac surgery unit last September

The deaths of up to 250 people who died following heart surgery at a troubled London cardiac unit are being reviewed.

The study is looking at all patients who underwent cardiac surgery at St George's Hospital in Tooting between April 2013 and September 2018.

Complex heart operations were moved out of the unit last year when it was revealed a "toxic" row had contributed to an above average death rate.

The review has been commissioned by NHS Improvement.

It is being carried out by a panel of independent cardiac surgery, cardiology and anaesthetic consultants.

The group is examining the safety and quality of care that patients who died during or after cardiac surgery received during the review period.

Image copyright PA
Image caption St George's hospital normally carry out about 1,000 cardiac operations every year

The Trust was found to have a higher mortality rate compared to other UK cardiac centres between April 2013 and March 2017.

The period between April 2017 and September 2018 is also being reviewed to see what happened when measures were introduced to improve services.

Between 200 and 250 deaths are expected to be looked at.

Deaths linked to other specialities like cardiology are not going to be included.

Jacqueline Totterdell, chief executive at St George's, said it was "absolutely essential that patients and their families have full confidence in the care our cardiac surgery team" and the review "will be a key part of that process."

Steve Russell, executive regional managing director for NHS Improvement said: "The review is to ensure the service is safe for its patients in the long term.

"The panel is making sure that the trust has identified any concerns arising from reviews of patients who have died after cardiac surgery and that these have been addressed appropriately."

The study is expected to take between six months and a year to complete.

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