Derriford doctor investigation

A Derriford heart doctor's being investigated after concerns were raised about the treatment of nearly 50 patients.

Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust has undertaken a detailed patient safety review to look at a number of heart patients who have undergone interventional cardiology procedures at Derriford Hospital between 2001 and 2007.

The Trust commissioned independent interventional cardiologists from outside of the organisation to review the clinical records and specialist investigations, of a significant number of patients who underwent stenting procedures of coronary arteries, by Consultant Cardiologist, Dr Joe Motwani.

The review was commissioned by the Trust to determine whether the care received was of a safe and high standard. This review of 597 patients has shown that the majority of patients received safe and appropriate treatment. However, the reviewers state that 18 of these patients received inappropriate treatment as described within the report. Three patients were identified as having received inadequate heparin treatment, a clot-preventing drug. The reviewers felt that a further 28 patients needed their cases reviewing because of ongoing concerns.

Of the 49 patients of whom concerns were expressed, the reviewers judged that four patients died as a result of complications arising from the procedure and a further two died as a result of complications arising from inadequate heparin administration. It is important to note that these patients had complex clinical conditions and it is not clear whether these patients would have survived alterative treatments.

Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust has, during March 2010, been contacting all of these patients, or their families, where concerns were raised in the independent review, to inform them what the review has identified in their individual case, to discuss any concerns, and to ensure they are receiving appropriate ongoing care. All of the patients or their relatives contacted have also been offered the opportunity to meet with a senior consultant from the Trust.

Dr Alex Mayor, Medical Director at Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Our priority is to ensure that all our patients are treated safely and effectively and that they are fully informed about the care they receive.

"We want to be sure that patients have received the right care. Where it is felt that they have not received the best possible care or there has been a problem, it is our duty to inform those patients and do everything we can to offer them the best possible ongoing medical care and support.

"This has been a detailed and thorough review and we are committed to sharing the findings fully with those patients concerned and their families. I appreciate this has been worrying for them and I would like to apologise to any patient or relative affected, for the anxiety or distress this patient safety review may have caused. I can only reiterate that we believe every patient has a right to know whether they have received the right care and what, if any, further treatment is now necessary.

"We would like to stress that the independent reviewers found the care and treatment being provided by the Trust to be of a very high standard and their concerns were over the practice of one individual Consultant Cardiologist, who is not currently working at the Trust. The care provided by other members at the South West Cardiothoracic Centre is of a high standard and is not in question.

Any patients of Dr Motwani who have concerns can call a special helpline, which is available between 9am and 9pm each day or between 9am and 5pm over the Bank holiday weekend - the number is: 0345 602 9886.

As soon as concerns were raised, Dr Motwani was excluded from working at the Trust and the matter was referred to the General Medical Council. The General Medical Council will be conducting a hearing relating to Dr Motwani later this year.