A host of Midland hospitals have been named and shamed for using outdated dangerous surgical equipment.
Birmingham Women’s Hospital and Heartlands Hospital were both criticised in investigations by the Association of Laparoscopic Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland.
In the first ever audit of specialist laparoscopic equipment, used in keyhole surgery, Russells Hall Hospital, in Dudley, Kidderminster Hospital, Warwick General and Queens Hospital, in Burton, were also highlighted for failing to use up to date tools and for using dangerous sharp metal equipment.
Mike Parker, from the Association of Laparoscopic Surgeons, said: “It is unbelievable that some surgeons are still having to use equipment which limits the operations they can perform safely.
“We hope the result of this audit encourages surgeons and management to discuss upgrading their equipment to improve standards.”
Results revealed only one in 10 hospitals used highest standards of equipment to carry out safe, keyhole surgery. Surgical instruments inserted into the abdomen, called ‘Trocars’, used to be sharp and made of metal which carried additional risk of accidentally puncturing organs or spreading infection.
But the hospitals named were often using these, according to the report.
In comparison, Sandwell and City Hospitals, plus Worcester Royal Hospital were praised for using the highest standards of equipment.
Professor Janesh Gupta, a gynaecologist at Birmingham Women’s Hospital, said: “We don’t feel the audit takes into account our specialist nature of surgery. We are very satisfied with the high standard of equipment used for minimal access surgery.
“The national audit standards relate to general surgery in the main and their techniques are different to how gynaecologists perform laparoscopy.”
Lisa Dunn, Heartlands Hospital director, said: “Patient safety is our top priority.
“We do still use the metal trocars where clinically necessary and safe to do so, however we will be moving towards a fully disposable stock as the metal trocars become no longer serviceable.”