Warning over warring Great Ormond Street surgeons

Great Ormond Street HospitalImage copyright
John Stillwell/PA

Warring between two surgeons at Great Ormond Street Hospital could put patients at risk, a review suggests.

A board paper released by the leading children’s hospital said a “fractured” relationship between two consultants in the paediatric surgical urology team was affecting the service last year.

It said the problems had an impact on the whole team, creating the potential for longer waits for sick children.

The London hospital said steps were being taken to resolve the problems.

This has included mediation, mentoring and away days.

Great Ormond Street said it took the issue “extremely seriously” and good progress was being made.

The surgical urology team treats more than 3,000 children a year from all over the country, operating on everything from kidney to bladder problems.

‘Lack of trust and respect’

The board paper from a meeting in November set out the findings of a two-day inspection by the Royal College of Surgeons last May.

The college was invited in by the trust itself after reports of problems.

The summary of the report said there were “significant difficulties” between two surgeons in the team.

It described a “lack of trust and respect” which meant they did not work collaboratively and led to significant competition for work.

If this continued it would have the “potential to affect patient care and safety” as well as longer waits for surgery, it said.

‘Dysfunction’ affected whole team

The “dysfunction” between the two senior doctors caused problems for the wider team with evidence support staff had also been treated inappropriately.

The problems also led to one consultant not always attending important team meetings.

It meant management had to focus on these two colleagues to the “detriment” of the rest of the team, at times.

The report also questioned the effectiveness of how the trust had handled the dispute.

A spokeswoman for the trust said: “There has been really good progress against the issues in the report.

“Successful mediation and the first away days have taken place and very constructive conversations have happened between all consultants.

“The report recognises they are a group of excellent dedicated surgeons who look after patients well and they are now working together to shape their services to better serve the needs of their patients.”


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