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31 October 2012

Response to Care Quality Commission’s inspection report of Ward 32 at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children

Robert Woolley Chief Executive of University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children said: "I was very disappointed by the CQC's findings following its inspection of one of our wards in the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, the paediatric cardiac ward. No family should leave the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children believing that we did not provide the best care possible for their child. I am deeply concerned that some families believe that we have let them down and will continue to ensure that we address their concerns and bring forward our plans to develop a high dependency unit."

As a regional centre, Bristol Royal Hospital for Children sees some of the sickest children with the most complex needs, from across the South West of England and South Wales. Some of the babies seen by the hospital have major heart defects and require surgery in the days following their birth and will go on to need further serious operations as they grow. For some this complex surgery can never be fully corrective and some children will not survive to adulthood. In 2010/11, 225 children and adults with congenital heart disease died after having an interventional procedure at a hospital in England. Seven of those were in Bristol and this low mortality rate reflects the excellence of the care we give.

The clinical results for paediatric cardiac surgery, as published by CCAD*, as well as the Safe & Sustainable three year independent review into paediatric cardiac surgery demonstrate beyond doubt that Bristol Royal Hospital for Children has learnt from the outcome of the Bristol Heart Inquiry in 2001 and is proud to have among the best clinical outcomes for paediatric heart surgery in England.

Following the CQC inspection, a warning notice was issued to the Trust in relation to staffing levels. The Trust took decisive action to address these concerns and has brought forward its plans to establish a cardiac high dependency unit and has secured commissioner agreement to recruit additional specialist nurses.

Robert Woolley added, "In the meantime, we've also created two dedicated high dependency beds on the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit where cardiac children who require high dependency care will be looked after. We have also improved the nurse to patient numbers on the cardiac ward. As a result of these actions, I believe we have addressed the issues leading to the warning notice and I would welcome a return visit from the CQC to confirm this.

The Trust continually surveys families who have received care at the children's hospital and in the last 12 months, 96% of parents on the children's cardiac ward rated the care their child received as good, very good or excellent. The CQC report itself records the praise of parents on the ward and clearly states that the actions we have taken are 'considered to be appropriate'."

*CCAD: Central Cardiac Audit Database,