Hospital medic keeps job after botched blood test checks
A ‘stressed’ medic who botched blood test checks and put patients at risk has not been struck off for his mistakes.
Biomedical scientist Simon Walmsley forced one patient to have an unnecessary transfusion and left another needing renal dialysis after failing to properly monitor blood samples.
But he has been allowed to keep his job at Wolverhampton’s New Cross Hospital after a tribunal claimed suspending him would be ‘disproportionate’.
A report from the Health and Care Professions Council hearing read: “The panel found significant and serious failings by Mr Walmsley in some of the most fundamental and basic of tasks required to be completed by a biomedical scientist when carrying out work in the critical field of processing blood results.
“Those failings led to the very real risks identified by the witnesses in their evidence and could have caused harm to those patients where the errors were made.”
Mr Walmsley, who worked in the hospital’s haematology and blood transfusion laboratories, was responsible for analysing samples and issuing blood products.
The London panel found his conduct between September 2014 and July 2015 ‘seriously breached’ professional standards and amounted to misconduct. But the medic claimed high levels of stress and anxiety were to blame for mistakes made for the first time during his 15-year career, leaving him ‘distracted’ and in need of a break.
On one occasion, he failed to highlight abnormal blood test results possibly indicating leukaemia, which meant two patients were given delayed cancer treatment.
The report read: “Both these results should have been escalated for an urgent review by the on-call haematologist or a senior biomedical scientist in the team, but Mr Walmsley did not do this in either case. In the second case the patient’s renal function deteriorated between testing and receiving treatment, which resulted in the patient requiring renal dialysis.”
The panel handed Mr Walmsley a 12-month conditions of practice order, which includes creating a training and development plan with the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust and providing reports on his work.
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