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Bristol Children's Hospital: NHS Boss Orders Probe
NHS chief Sir Bruce Keogh has ordered an independent review into Bristol Royal Hospital for Children following the deaths of newborn babies and young children.
His announcement came after he held "a very important" meeting with families of children who either died or were left seriously ill following treatment at the hospital's paediatric cardiac unit.
Some of the families have accused the hospital of a catalogue of neglect and mistreatment of infants with heart problems.
Sir Bruce said in a statement: "My deputy medical director Mike Bewick and I have listened with great care to their concerns about the care their children received.
"I would like to thank them for the dignified and powerful way they have talked to us.
"We collectively concluded that the most effective course of action might be to put in place an independent review of the care at the trust's paediatric cardiac unit.
"It was clear that, in the interests of everyone, such a review would need to be independent of the NHS. It must be led by the families involved. It must be their review."
Sir Bruce said Sir Ian Kennedy, a lawyer who specialises in the law and ethics of healthcare, has agreed in principle to oversee the review.
Last year it emerged around 10 families were believed to be taking legal action against the trust, including seven whose children died after being treated at the hospital.
Previously some had called for a public inquiry into what they claimed to be "chronically low standards".
Among parents who have complained are Steve and Yolanda Turner, whose son Sean Turner died in 2012 from a brain haemorrhage after previously suffering a cardiac arrest - six weeks after he underwent vital corrective heart surgery at the hospital.
Last month at an inquest into his death, they gave harrowing accounts of how they begged doctors and nurses to help their desperately ill son.
Mr and Mrs Turner, from Warminster, Wiltshire, claim ward hygiene was poor, staff were incompetent and that Sean was neglected to the point where he had an avoidable cardiac arrest.
A spokesman for University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust said it welcomed the review and hoped it would "restore trust and confidence in the service, which has learnt much from the experiences of these families".
The trust's acting chief executive Deborah Lee added: "For the families who continue to rely on our service, and the staff who work continue committedly to deliver the very best care, it is critical to remind ourselves that this service is delivering good clinical outcomes and, importantly, a positive experience for families - in our most recent survey of parents 98% said they had received excellent, very good or good care.
"It saddens me greatly that we have a group of families that believe we have let them down and we will continue to do our utmost to ensure that no other family experiences care in our services in the way that these families did."
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