Patient group asked to monitor hospital trust after GP death

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A patient watchdog group has been asked to check a hospital trust has put in changes after a patient died.

As previously reported, GP Richard Sanderson died on March 21, 2011, in Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham.

The 63-year-old had a hernia operation on March 4, of the same year.

But he died after a catalogue of missed opportunities to treat a complication.

The hernia procedure took place at the Independent Sector Treatment Centre, at the former St Mary’s Hospital, in Milton.

But hours later Dr Sanderson was vomiting and in severe pain.

He was readmitted to QA on three occasions, but each time communication breakdowns led to Dr Sanderson being discharged.

Dr Sanderson was brought into A&E where he had a CT scan.

It showed parts of his small bowel were stuck around mesh treating the hernias, and holes had formed in the lining.

Despite undergoing emergency surgery, Dr Sanderson died.

His death prompted a review by Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust (PHT), which put in new guidelines to give better continuity of care.

Yesterday, at Portsmouth City Council’s full council meeting, Councillor Steve Wemyss originally asked the Health Overview and Scrutiny Panel if it will check with the hospital trust that changes have been made, and are being implemented.

But the matter was referred to Healthwatch Portsmouth, after council members unanimously agreed it would be more appropriate for a body with more professional expertise to handle it.

Healthwatch started in April this year, and took over from patient support group Link.

It is independent from local authorities and the NHS, and provides a voice and information for patients.

Councillor Mike Hancock, who represents the Fratton ward of Portsmouth, said: ‘We need to ask the hospital lots of questions.

‘Are we confident enough to do that? I’m not so sure.’

Cllr Wemyss said he was happy about the decision, so long as a report comes back to the council.

He said: ‘This is about looking out for the best interests of Portsmouth’s residents.’

Last year, an investigation by PHT found areas the trust could improve on – some have been listed below:

· Improve communication between the ISTC and QA.

· Surgical staff encouraged to record observations more carefully.

· Further education on what to do if complications arise.

· Be aware of readmissions.

· Review of consultants on-call arrangements.

· Junior and senior staff to improve continuity of care.