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06 September 2011

CQC finds histopathology service meets essential quality and safety standards

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has found that the histopathology service at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust (UH Bristol) is compliant with essential standards of quality and safety.

The review by the CQC was carried out after concerns were raised following the publication of the Histopathology Independent Inquiry Report in December last year, after a misdiagnosis was reported by the Trust this year and after concerns were raised with the CQC by members of the public.

Robert Woolley, chief executive of UH Bristol, said: "This finding by the CQC should give patients and the public full confidence in our histopathology service. The Independent Inquiry last year found no evidence to suggest that the histopathology department at University Hospitals Bristol provides anything other than a safe service. The national health and social care regulator has now formally inspected the Trust and reached the same conclusion."

The CQC reviewed six quality and safety standards and found that the Trust was meeting all six standards. However, it has suggested that the Trust make improvements in three areas in order to maintain compliance. The Trust has two weeks to respond to the CQC and set out the actions it will take in these areas. 

Dr Sean O'Kelly, medical director of UH Bristol, said: "It is essential that patients trust our services and know that they will receive safe and appropriate care and advice. I was therefore particularly pleased that patients told the CQC they were very satisfied with the care they received from diagnosis through to treatment." 

A range of improvements have been made to the histopathology service since the Histopathology Independent Inquiry Report was published in December 2010. UH Bristol and North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT) signed up to a joint action plan to deliver the report's recommendations and UH Bristol reports progress against this plan publicly at the Trust Board and to the Bristol Health Scrutiny Commission. 

"We have made very good progress on our joint action plan with NBT. We will continue to report publicly on our delivery of the remaining recommendations so that we provide patients with the assurance that they will receive the diagnosis and treatment they deserve," said Dr Sean O'Kelly.