Bristol Children's Hospital has defended its record after a series of complaints over care of child cardiac patients, saying it hopes to "learn from the incidents".

It follows the publication of a report earlier this week which partly blamed staff shortages on the death of a seven-year-old boy from Cardiff.

The report said Luke Jenkins should have made a recovery after heart surgery at the hospital, but he suffered cardiac arrest and died, partly due to staff shortages.

Other stories of poor care have subsequently been reported and Dr Sean O'Kelly, medical director of University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, said: "I'm profoundly disappointed and upset to hear these stories of poor care from patients and their families.

"We always strive to provide the highest standards of care and it's disappointing when we don't, so we will learn from this."

The Bristol case comes on the same day the Royal College of Physicians' claimed that many hospitals in England could be "on the brink of collapse" because of rising demand and increasing complexity of patients' conditions.

RCP's report showed the number of beds had been cut by a third over the past 25 years, at the same time as emergency admissions had started rising and hospitals were seeing older patients with a wider variety of conditions leading to urgent care being compromised.

Prof Tim Evans said: "This evidence is very distressing. All hospital patients deserve to receive safe, high-quality sustainable care centred around their needs.

"Yet it is increasingly clear that our hospitals are struggling to cope with the challenge of an ageing population who increasingly present to our hospitals with multiple, complex diseases. We must act now to make the drastic changes required to provide the care they deserve."

The report said the solution lay in concentrating hospital services in fewer, larger sites that were able to provide excellent care round-the-clock, seven days a week while also improving community services to ensure less patients ended up in hospital because of a lack of help close to home.

Posted 13/09/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com