Liver surgery helpline at University Hospital following "avoidable" deaths

CARDIFF and Vale University Health Board (UHB) has confirmed that a specialist liver surgeon was fully suspended from working at the University Hospital of Wales following concerns about ten deaths.

A review into the individual care of 31 patients who underwent complex liver surgery by David Paul Berry, ten of whom died, showed that eight of those ten deaths were avoidable.

Medical director Dr Graham Shortland said the UHB’s normal checks on surgeons’ clinical outcomes had identified the original concerns and that no current liver patients were at risk.

“Every death is a tragedy for the family concerned, but we do not underestimate the impact of a death in these circumstances," he said. "The UHB has been in dialogue with the majority of those families concerned for some time and has put individual advocates in place to support them through this difficult period.

“As a health board, our absolute focus is on the safety and quality of the care we give to our patients. Anomalies in this surgeon’s results were picked up by us from routine clinical data, which we scrutinise rigorously across the organisation."

The UHB has set up a helpline for anyone who is concerned about the surgical care they received in relation to liver surgery between February 2011 and October 2012.

The helpline number is 0800 952 0244 and will be open until Friday, December 13.

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