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Operations resume at heart hospital

The Healthcare Commission has revealed that heart transplants have resumed at a specialist hospital after an investigation was concluded into a rise in the number of patient deaths.

A review into procedures at Papworth Hospital near Cambridge was launched earlier this month after it emerged there had been a “small increase in early mortality” following operations.

This year, seven of the 20 adult heart transplant patients have died within 30 days of having their operations.

The Healthcare Commission said its two-week investigation had found the quality of care at the hospital was good and there were no common factors to explain the recent rise in the number of deaths.

Nigel Ellis, the head of investigations at the Healthcare Commission, said: “I want to be clear that we did not find any evidence of inadequate care or evidence that the deaths could have been prevented.

“But the number of deaths since January has clearly been high. This is why we are asking the trust to put in place a number of important checks and safeguards. With these in place, the public can be reassured that everything possible is being done to protect heart transplant patients.”

Stephen Bridge, Papworth’s chief executive, confirmed the hospital had now resumed its transplant service. He said: “We have a highly professional and dedicated transplant team and this report shows that we have many robust systems in place which contribute to the tremendous team effort that goes
towards providing excellent care for our patients.”

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