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Royal London Hospital surgery delays criticised in Royal College of Surgeons report

PUBLISHED: 15:52 26 June 2012 | UPDATED: 14:49 27 June 2012

Surgeons

Surgeons

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Patients of Whitechapel’s Royal London Hospital are at risk of “severe harm” due to “unacceptable delays” in receiving treatment, a report has said.

The Royal College of Surgeons reviewed performance at the hospital after five of its 12 orthopedic surgeons resigned in December, citing a “dangerous” shortage of facilities for patients.

The review criticised the hospital for delaying relatively minor treatments, allowing patients’ conditions to worsen.

It said: “Patients with less serious surgical problems consistently experienced unacceptable delays in receiving their definitive surgical treatment... one patient needing urgent surgery had to wait two and a half weeks.

“Some of these patients subsequently required intensive care unit treatment specifically because of the delay to their surgery.”

Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs the Royal London, accepted the report, but claimed their move into new £650m premises in March has led to siginifcant improvements.

A spokesman said: “This review makes for uncomfortable reading.”

“However, the majority of the issues raised relate to delivering complex 21st century trauma care in ill-configured facilities dating back to the 18th century, and our move to our new hospital at the Royal London has seen an increase in facilities.”

The report comes just months after a mass resignation of surgeons, who criticised the hospital’s record of patient care. Dr David Goodier’s resignation email said: “Patients are at best having their human rights breached, and at worst physically harmed by the care they receive.”

The Patients Asociation has urged the Trust to ensure the problems are tackled immediately.

Chief Executive Katherine Murphy said: “There is no excuse for delaying an operation when it may cause harm.

“Everything must be done to ensure that these delays do not occur ever again. Patient safety must never be compromised.”

The Royal College of Surgeons will produce a further report six months from now.

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