Health centre faces death inquiry

An INQUIRY is being launched into a privately run treatment centre for NHS patients in Yorkshire following scathing criticism of the care of a university lecturer who died after surgery.

John Hubley, 58, of West Park, Leeds, suffered massive bleeding after routine keyhole surgery went badly wrong at Eccleshill Independent Sector Treatment Centre in Bradford in January 2007.

An inquest in November heard that vital surgical equipment and supplies to resuscitate him were not available and there were long delays in receiving blood, some of which eventually arriving in a taxi.

A coroner recorded a verdict of death by misadventure aggravated by neglect after finding serious failings in his care.

The Yorkshire Post can today reveal the Healthcare Commission will carry out a full review into the safety of all services at the centre in a move welcomed by Dr Hubley's family.

His fiancee, Prof Bren Neale, said she hoped the inquiry would have national lessons.

"I hope the policy of sending out operations to these privatised clinics will be looked at," she said. "At the inquest it was clear the NHS was not responsible for standards and safety at Ecceleshill but it is not a separate private enterprise because NHS patients are the only ones treated there and they should not be sent there unless there is the same level of safety as the rest of the NHS."

The clinical negligence specialist at law firm Irwin Mitchell which represents the family, Rachelle Mahapatra, said: "The evidence heard during the inquest showed that the protocols in place at Eccleshill were grossly inadequate.

"We must hope that the significant flaws in procedure at the centre have been remedied to the satisfaction of the Healthcare Commission and that it is confident such tragic and preventable deaths are not allowed to occur again."

Dr Hubley's MP Greg Mulholland, who has called for an independent inquiry, said: "People have to be reassured that it is safe to have their loved ones treated at the centre.

"It's clear after the tragic and unnecessary death of Dr Hubley that people simply don't have confidence in the facility."

A Healthcare Commission spokeswoman said: "This will be a thorough and independent review looking at every aspect of the service.

"In particular, we want to ensure that the service meets the Government's national minimum standards for independent healthcare providers, which are designed to ensure required standards of safety are met.

"The details of the review are currently being finalised. We will report back publicly on our findings in due course."

NHS chiefs in Bradford and Leeds had previously announced keyhole surgery was being suspended at the centre pending the outcome of their own review but this has now been superseded by the Healthcare Commission investigation.

The spokeswoman added: "We would like to assure patients of the safety of all procedures currently being carried out at the centre on behalf of primary care trusts in Bradford and Airedale and Leeds."

A spokesman for Nations Healthcare, which runs the centre, said it would co-operate fully with the review.