NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Aberdeen Royal Infirmary report says some operations 'not in best interest'

Aberdeen Royal Infirmary

A report into the standards of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary's general surgery department has said some operations may not have been carried out in the best interests of the patients.

The report by the Royal College of Surgeons in England was done in 2014.

However, sections of it have only now been released following a freedom of information request.

NHS Grampian said it "provided a springboard" for "positive progress" made over the past year and a half.

The review team looked at 16 sets of clinical records provided by NHS Grampian and concluded that the standard of care was not outside that which might be expected.

In three cases, the procedures selected were approaches not all surgeons would have chosen, though "they were not inappropriate", the report said.

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However, four cases involved what the report said "could in retrospect have been seen as questionable decision-making about pursuing further surgical treatment instead of more conservative or palliative care".

The report said, that with the benefit of hindsight, "the surgical treatment of these patients may not have been in their best interests".

The review also highlighted poor communication between teams, and rota issues which meant four consultants were on-call at the same time.

In November 2014, just the recommendations of the Royal College of Surgeons of England report were made public.

These latest sections have been published after a decision by the Scottish Information Commissioner who said additional details should be made available.

'Transformational change'

Malcolm Wright, chief Executive of NHS Grampian, said: "We are an open and transparent organisation and are committed to upholding the principles of the Freedom of Information Act, but there are occasions however when the release of information could breach the confidentiality of individual patients and staff.

"We take our responsibilities to patients and staff extremely seriously and felt that we had made the best judgements about what could be released.

"However we accept the Scottish Information Commissioner's findings and have acted on these."

He added: "The Royal College report provided a springboard for a great deal of the positive progress we've made over the last year and a half, including addressing concerns about team working, training and accountability.

"We have now seen a transformational change in the general surgery department and I would like to thank everyone who has worked so hard to achieve this."

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