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North Bristol NHS trust fined £1.2m for failing to achieve surgery targets

Posted in: Medical Negligence Spine & Back Injuries 

North Bristol NHS Trust’s Bristol Southmead Hospital has been fined £1.2 million for consistently failing to achieve NHS targets to carry out specialist spinal surgery. The NHS requires that patients requiring specialist spinal surgery should be treated within 18 weeks, however Bristol Southmead Hospital was found to be keeping patients waiting for more than a year. The hospital has acknowledged the problem and stated that increased referral numbers coupled with a lack of specialist staff was the cause of the problem.

The fine, imposed by NHS England, comes further to a specific period in 2014 when 111 patients had to wait more than 52 weeks to undergo their spinal surgery. An NHS England spokesperson confirmed that fines are imposed to any trust with patients having to wait more than 52 weeks for treatment. At the moment, 81 patients are waiting for non-urgent orthopaedic spinal surgery. The trust has also acknowledged that epilepsy and neurosurgery treatment times are being adversely affected. 

Clear backlog of patients by March 2017

The North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT) has confirmed that it has employed a further specialist spinal surgeon, which will bring the team number up to seven. The hospital has an objective to clear the backlog of patients by March 2017.

NBT opened the hospital in May 2014 and cost £430 million. A spokesperson pointed out that there had been a “significant increase” in referrals coming from other hospitals, together with “an increase in the complexity” of patients’ conditions. He confirmed that a recovery plan was being implemented to address the problems.

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