Surgery bungle - NHS recalls knee patients

NEARLY 700 patients who underwent operations at Weston General Hospital are being recalled after fears they could be suffering from complications

NEARLY 700 patients who underwent operations at Weston General Hospital are being recalled after fears they could be suffering from complications.Health bosses have written to hundreds of people who received knee implants at the hospital after 14 patients complained of pain after surgery carried out by two Swedish doctors. Many of these were on crutches six months after their operation, some have undergone operations to correct the problems, while others are still waiting to have surgery.The operations were carried out by surgeons from a visiting team at the hospital's NHS Treatment Centre where Welsh patients were referred to cut waiting lists in South Wales under the Welsh Assembly's Second Offer scheme.Health bosses have now written to 683 patients calling them back in for check-ups as a precaution.In June last year, the Rhondda Cynon Taff Local Health Board ordered a review, which was carried out by the British Orthopaedic Association. The review showed the complication rate for patients who had knee surgery in Weston General Hospital was higher than expected. It is thought the complications arose as a result of the way the implants were inserted rather than problems with the replacement knee itself.But a hospital spokesman said: "Weston Area Health Trust today welcomes the outcome of an independent review of knee surgery carried out on patients travelling from Wales under the Second Offer scheme."A total of 600 patients were referred to Weston and, of these, the notes of 14 patients who had knee replacements, were reviewed."Today's report by the British Orthopaedic Association is therefore about only these 14 patients."She added that over the three years patients were referred from Wales to Weston, patient satisfaction surveys showed that 98 per cent rated their experience as 'positive.'She added: "We know from our own comprehensive audits that, overall, our complication rate and revision rate is similar to other hospitals and we are participating in wider audits to ensure that we can continuously improve the service and ensure the best outcome for our patients."The trust welcomes the recommendation that all Welsh knee patients treated at Weston will be invited to have their x-rays reviewed as part of a clinical assessment and will do all it can to support this exercise.

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