Review of chemotherapy doses after 14 patients die

  • April 17, 2019
  • An independent review has been requested after 14 patients died after receiving lower chemotherapy doses at NHS Tayside than at any other Scottish health board areas.

    The review follows a whistle-blower raising concerns over the treatment – since December 2016, breast cancer patients have received a lower dosage of docetaxel in the Tayside board area than any other Scottish health board area.

    Health Improvement Scotland criticism

    NHS Tayside has requested a review after it was criticised in a report by Health Improvement Scotland.

    It has also said that the chemotherapy doses for breast cancer patients were lowered to reduce side effects, adding that a higher dosage of chemotherapy ‘is not well tolerated’ by its patients.

    NHS Tayside contacted 304 patients earlier this month to advise them of the lower doses of chemotherapy that they had received.

    The patients affected received breast cancer chemotherapy between 1 December 2016 and 31 March 2019, but were unaware that their chemotherapy has been knowingly ‘under-dosed’. However, Health Improvement Scotland has advised that patients should be kept informed where ‘routine practice is different from that supported by the wider oncology community’.

    Patients who have been affected are being offered an appointment with an oncologist to discuss their treatment.

    As a result, NHS Tayside have appointed an independent expert to review the treatment of those patients who have passed away and will be sharing the findings with their families.

    A further expert group, led by the Scottish Cancer Taskforce, will consider all of the report’s individual recommendations to see how they may best be delivered. The group’s findings are expected to be presented in June.

    Elizabeth Wickson, associate solicitor at Medical Accident Group, said: “It is extremely concerning that patients were not aware that their dosage of chemotherapy was lower than other practices until now.”

    If you or a family member have suffered from poor treatment, Medical Accident Group can help. We have a team of dedicated clinical negligence solicitors who will guide you through the process of making a claim. Call the team now on 0800 050 1668 or email at


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