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The BBC's Karen Allen
"Questions have been asked about surgical proceedures"
 real 56k

Dr Evan Harris MP
"One persons secrecy is another persons respect of patient confidentiality"
 real 28k

Monday, 2 October, 2000, 09:26 GMT 10:26 UK
Concerns over heart hospital
Oxford Heart Centre
Oxford Heart Centre: Criticised for standards
A BBC News investigation has uncovered concerns about one of the UK's leading heart disease hospitals.

The inquiry into the Oxford Heart Centre - part of the John Radcliffe Hospital - has found evidence that patients and relatives were not informed when things went wrong and that junior doctors were not properly supervised.

BBC social affairs editor Niall Dickson said the Oxford Heart Centre was a troubled institution with poor relationships between staff, a history of inadequate supervision of junior doctors and according to the community health council a culture of secrecy.

An NHS inquiry into the centre is expected to report its findings in the next few weeks.

Sefeena Begum
Sefeena Begum: Died after a straightforward operation
In August 1999 two-year-old Sefeena Begum, from Aylesbury, was admitted to the centre for routine surgery to correct a hole in the heart. She died.

A confidential hospital inquiry was launched without the knowledge of the Sefeena's parents.

It found that heat from the lights in the operating theatre had contributed to her death.

But her family was never told anything about the finding.

Neither was Oxfordshire coroner Nicholas Gardiner.

Irene Godfrey
Irene Godfrey: Opened four times by junior doctors
He has since decided to re-open the case.

In a written statement he says: "In the light of allegations brought to my attention I am investigating the death of Sefeena Begum in August 1999".

Irene Godfrey was admitted to the centre for a valve replacement in September 1999.

After surgery it became clear there was excessive bleeding.

A swab had been left inside Ms Godfrey and she was opened up four times by junior doctors.

She died in the early hours of 6 October last year.

Her relatives say they were not told this information or about an instruction not to resuscitate her.

David Highton
David Highton: "I would want to apologise"
John Radcliffe's recently-appointed chief executive David Highton says he is sorry if relatives feel they have not been given the right information.

But he pointed out that there is no problem with the overall results of surgery at the heart centre.

"Firstly I would want to apologise if the actions of the hospital have caused so many distress needlessly," he told BBC News 24.

"I would want to be sure that we shared with them all relevant information, relevant to the care of their relatives."

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See also:

24 Feb 00 | Health
Inquiry into heart unit
21 Mar 00 | Medical notes
Heart disease
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