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Ophthalmology procedures undertaken by Vanguard Healthcare Solutions Ltd - 14 October 2014

Ophthalmology procedures undertaken by Vanguard Healthcare Solutions Ltd - 14 October 2014

In May 2014 we appointed Vanguard Healthcare Solutions Ltd (Vanguard) to carry out 400 cataract operations in a mobile theatre on site to help us reduce a waiting list backlog of patients needing treatment. The Trust has successfully used Vanguard before and they have worked extensively with NHS Trusts and other private healthcare organisations.

Early into the contract with Vanguard it became apparent that patients being operated on were experiencing a higher than expected number of complications.  As a result of this we cancelled the contract with Vanguard and launched an immediate investigation.

We have now concluded a thorough investigation. The purpose of this was to try and establish what happened to cause the complications that the patients operated on in the Vanguard mobile theatre experienced, and how we could learn from these events to minimise the risk of recurrence in the future.

As with similar ophthalmic incident clusters there is no clear single cause for the range of problems our patients appear to have experienced following surgery in the Vanguard mobile theatre. Instead we have identified a number of factors which may have led to the unusually high level of complications seen. The detail of the investigation has been shared with patients.

The Trust is committed to providing the highest quality patient care and our first and foremost priority throughout this complex matter has always been our patients. We are very sorry for those patients who have experienced problems and for any anxiety and distress this may have caused them. We have been working closely with them since May to ensure that they get the best possible ongoing care and treatment and we will continue to support them in every way we can going forwards.

We have identified a number of learning points from this incident, many of which have already been implemented as a result of the investigation and others which will be implemented over time. Our intention is to also share our learning across the healthcare community so that the incident can be reflected on more widely.

In light of this we understand that patients who are waiting for Ophthalmology treatment or who are currently receiving treatment at Musgrove Park Hospital may have questions. We would encourage anyone who has questions or concerns to please contact our PALs service on 01823 343536.