NHS Trust admits ‘poor record keeping’

  • Posted

Posted 04/07/2012

One of the UK’s biggest NHS Trusts has admitted ‘poor record keeping’ for patients referred for cancer investigations. Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust has uncovered errors in its record keeping, affecting up to 900 patients. It is reported that files on some patients were opened but not closed while others were duplicated. A number of local London councils complained to the Trust saying: “It seems to us there could be a possibility of clinical harm as a result of delays in the diagnosis and commencement of treatment arising from the Trust’s failings.”It appears data has gone missing on referrals and Imperial is still unaware of the outcomes of 86 patients who were referred for cancer tests. To date, 74 deaths have been reviewed, and a review group is said to be satisfied that 49 were unrelated to delayed treatment.The Trust says it does not believe any patient has come to serious harm but has admitted that patients may have faced “discomfort, worry and possible deterioration as a result of a delay”.It is thought that at the height of the problems in February, around 3,500 patients were waiting longer than the 18-week NHS target for treatment or operations, with the figure now at 1,600.Sandra Patton, Head of Medical Injury at Ashtons Legal solicitors, comments: “We know from our experience of advising cancer patients that time is the critical factor in how well a patient will recover from this disease. This will affect how much treatment a patient will need, the type of treatment and critically their chances of beating the cancer. We should also never underestimate the huge psychological impact on those waiting for a diagnosis. It is shocking that so many people have been left in limbo, some apparently on the waiting list since 2009, and difficult to understand the Trust’s claim that no-one has come to serious harm.”


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