Health bosses have moved to restore public confidence in bowel surgery at Noble’s Hospital.
Colorectal surgery was temporarily suspended as a precautionary measure in November last year following higher than expected complication rates. All four patients who experienced complications were under the care of one general surgeon.
Surgery resumed in May after an independent review concluded it was safe to do so.
Liberal Vannin MHK subsequently leaked extracts from the review report - and accused Health Minister David Anderson of misleading a Tynwald committee by playing down its conclusions. Ten backbench MHKs have since called for Mr Anderson to be replaced.
This week, the Department of Health made public its action plan that has developed out of the review. But it has refused to publish the review report itself, with the Minister insisting it is a confidential document.
He has accused Lib Van of being irresponsible in quoting selective extracts from the report.
Mr Anderson said: ‘I’m concerned the public may have been misled and alarmed by the partial information that has been circulated to promote a particular political agenda, so I am keen that the public are provided with a more balanced picture.
‘Although the review document is for internal purposes and is private and confidential, the department has published the action plan it has developed, which consists of seven short term recommendations – all of which were implemented earlier this year – and six longer term recommendations, on which work is progressing.
‘So the majority of work has already been done with the rest well under way.
‘The consultant colorectal surgeon, upon completing his independent external review at the end of last year, did determine that on the whole it would safe for colorectal surgery at Noble’s Hospital to resume. However, senior management at Noble’s Hospital decided to take the precaution of ensuring that all of the short term recommendations were first in place before taking that step.’
He added: ‘Medical and surgical best practice continues to change and adapt with near constant improvements and innovations, as the recommendations and action plan show.
‘This plan ensures that the team at Noble’s can continue to develop services that take account of these advances, whilst making sure that patients undergoing highly complex and high risk procedures, such as bowel surgery, are as safe as we can possibly make them.’
Not all surgeons have recommenced elective colorectal surgery at Noble’s.
The extracts of the leaked report show one patient had an unnecessary operation. in another case a post-op infection was not investigated appropriately and in a third there had been a ‘very risky’ approach to managing a leak.
The action plan can be downloaded from the Department of Health’s website.