A mortality review of patients who underwent cardiac surgery at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is being carried out.

The mortality review at St George’s – commissioned by NHS Improvement – is being conducted by a panel of independent cardiac surgery, cardiology and anaesthetic consultants.

The panel is reviewing the deaths of all patients who died following cardiac surgery at St George’s between April 2013 and September 2018.

The panel has chosen this timeframe because – between April 2013 and March 2017 – the Trust was found to have a statistically higher mortality rate when compared with the 31 other cardiac surgery centres in the UK (NICOR data).

The panel will also review deaths between April 2017 and 1 September 2018, a period during which improvements were being introduced by the Trust to improve services for cardiac surgery patients.

The review only applies to cardiac surgery at St George’s, and doesn’t include other associated specialities (e.g. cardiology).

The panel will examine the safety and quality of care that patients who died during or after cardiac surgery at St George’s received during the review period.

They will do this by reviewing the medical records of deceased cardiac surgery patients, as well as any investigations conducted by the Trust at the time of the patients’ death.

The panel is likely to review between 200-250 deaths as part of this process, which will take place between 6 and 12 months to complete.

Families and relatives of cardiac surgery patients who died at St George’s during the review period will be contacted in due course.

The cardiac surgery service at St George’s is safe, and the improvements the Trust is putting in place continue to be overseen by the separate, external oversight panel convened by NHS Improvement last year.

Jacqueline Totterdell, Chief Executive at St George’s, said:

“It is absolutely essential that patients and their families have full confidence in the care our cardiac surgery team provide – and this review of past deaths will be a key part of that process.”