Infant Deaths Spark Surgery Review

24 June 2015, 14:07 | Updated: 24 June 2015, 15:09

Children needing a specialist type of heart surgery at Scotland's newest hospital will be temporarily transferred to a unit in London following the deaths of three infants.

The babies all had complex congenital heart conditions and died at the former Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Yorkhill, Glasgow, earlier this year.

The services at Yorkhill have recently moved to the new South Glasgow University Hospital campus in Govan and a review is now to be carried out of heart surgery services following the deaths.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said all complex cardiac surgery continues as normal at the new unit but Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome surgery will temporarily be undertaken at Evelina Children's Hospital in London while the review takes place.

A spokeswoman for the health board said: "We closely monitor cardiac surgery outcomes and one of the key elements of this is survival rates.

"The paediatric cardiac surgical service has a nationally set predicted level for survival rates and the unit continues to remain within these.

"Any deaths which occur are fully reviewed and in line with our ongoing processes of continual scrutiny and ongoing quality improvement we have invited external colleagues from another UK specialist unit to review our clinical practice.

"We have also established an internal review of the ways in which the highly specialist multi-disciplinary team involved in the delivery of this service work together to ensure that we continue to deliver a high quality service.''

The health board said it has around 300 paediatric cardiac surgical cases every year.

Two patients have already been transferred to London because the operations were scheduled during the move to the new hospital campus.

The spokeswoman added: "The interim decision to transfer this small group of patients - seven cases are predicted in Scotland annually - was primarily in response to the planned migration of services from Yorkhill to the new children's hospital.

"These patients can require up to one month in ICU following surgery and given that we had two cases which we knew would require inpatient treatment during the planned migration period we took the proactive decision to transfer these cases to the London centre where there would be no chance of them requiring to be moved during their care.

"We fully intend to return this service back to Glasgow as soon as the paediatric cardiac surgical service has bedded down in its new location and once the reviews have been concluded.''

Hypoplastic left heart syndrome is a congenital heart defect where the left ventricle does not develop properly so is much smaller than usual.