NHS faces legal bill as dozens suffer problems after private eye operations
Half of patients left with complications from cataract operations carried out by Vanguard for the NHS at Musgrove Park hospital in Taunton.
Private healthcare company, Vanguard Healthcare, were hired to carry out routine cataract operations at the hospital to reduce a backlog. The hospital’s contract with Vanguard Healthcare was terminated only four days after the operations began, after a significant amount of patients reported complications, including blurred vision, pain and swelling.
Dozens of patients have been left with impaired vision, pain and discomfort after undergoing these operations and one elderly patient claimed he lost his sight as a result.
The son of the 84-year-old said the procedure only took 15 minutes and that his father felt it was “very rushed”, and that the staff told his wife that she was not allowed to be present due to limited space.
After the operation his vision was impaired but he thought this was simply part of the procedure and that it would later return so went home, until Musgrove Park later told him that he needed to return as there had been complications.
His son said:
“My father is traumatised and depressed with the loss of
his eyesight. Previous pleasures of gardening and
watching sport on the TV have been taken
away from him.
“This could have been prevented if the welfare of the patients
had been thought about, rather than this
urgency of getting people through.”
What will the outcome be?
Some of the patients who have suffered complications, have sought legal advice on seeking compensation, which has raised the issue of whether the private company will be responsible for payouts, or whether the NHS will be expected to pay.
The trust refused to talk about the details of the investigation and has also refused to discuss which company will be paying out compensation costs.
Dr Colin Close, Musgrove Park’s medical director has stated:
“We still don’t know exactly what the cause is – we’re trying
to identify that at the moment. There could
be a range of causes.
“We’re deeply disappointed for our patients, but we want to
reassure everybody in Taunton that they can have
complete confidence in our own ophthalmology
department. Anyone coming up for cataract
surgery in Musgrove has nothing
to be worried about.”
The Vanguard mobile unit used for the operations has been quarantined while an investigation is being carried out to discover whether the fault was down to human error or mechanical/chemical factors.
If you have been affected by a negligent cataract operation, and you would like expert advice, contact the Hampson Hughes Solicitors Medical Negligence Team today on 0151 242 1025 or email
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