Posted by: Witch Doctor | March 29, 2013

Leeds : The Duty of Candour at work


It appears that the Duty of Candour recommended in the Francis Report on Mid-Staffordshire is now kicking in elsewhere


“It was 8am on Thursday morning when Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS medical director, and two colleagues marched into the office of Maggie Boyle, chief executive of Leeds Teaching Hospitals, and ordered her to suspend heart surgery on children.

Mr Keogh had been shown preliminary data on Wednesday by the former Government heart tsar, Sir Roger Boyle, who now leads the national clinical audit of heart surgery, indicating that the children’s heart surgery unit at Leeds General Infirmary had a mortality rate for 2010-12 that was at least twice the average.”

“Mr Keogh, a former heart surgeon who pioneered the publication of comparative death rates for adult cardiac surgery a decade ago, said there had been “rumblings” in the cardiac surgical community for some time that “all was not well with Leeds”.

The Witch Doctor has not yet made up her mind about the pros and cons of the Duty of Candour except that she anticipates as well as the pros it will cause a lot of work, pain, disagreement and expense.

Being easily bamboozled by statistics, she has also often wondered whether there are enough good statisticians around who also have an expert knowledge of the vagaries of biology and medicine.

This article (quite long) is worth a read:


“The statistics presented in the Francis Report suggest that at Mid-Staffs hundreds of patients died who might well have lived had they been treated in a good, or even an average hospital. Some newspapers have consistently claimed that 1200 patients died unnecessarily. It isn’t quite clear how they arrived at this total, and it matters, because the mortality statistics and their reliability are crucial to any assessment of what happened. The method used to arrive at the figures in the Francis Report is complicated, and has its critics. Its origins can be traced back to the inquiry into an earlier scandal, concerning the deaths of children who underwent heart surgery at the Bristol Royal Infirmary between 1991 and 1995.”

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