At least 1,700 patients may have been harmed by a ‘colossal’ blunder that meant thousands of patient records were left to pile up in a warehouse. Cancer test results and child protection notes were among the documents that were missing in England. The number at risk is likely to rise as only two thirds of the 700,000 notes found had been checked, officials said.
The company, NHS Shared Business Services (SBS), was employed in the East Midlands, South West and north-west London to redirect mail for the health service and was meant to pass on documents that had either been incorrectly addressed or needed re-routing because the patient had moved to a new GP surgery.
But between 2011 and 2016 a backlog of 709,000 pieces of correspondence piled up in a NHS SBS warehouse.
Individual investigations, overseen by NHS England, are taking place into the 1,788 cases of potential harm identified by GPs who have reviewed the missing notes. On top of that over 200,000 records have still to be reviewed by GPs in the first place to determine if there was a potential for harm to have happened. All investigations are expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Dr Richard Vautrey, of the British Medical Association, said the “disastrous” situation should never happen again. He is reported as saying that “The handling and transfer of clinical correspondence is a crucial part of how general practice operates, and it’s essential that important information reaches GPs as soon as possible so that they can provide the best possible care to their patients.”
Inez Brown from Medical Accident Group said “This is a very serious error and will be of grave concern to many patients. Patient safety must be at the forefront of all treating clinicians and without the full picture the correct diagnosis or treatment cannot be guaranteed. These failings are unacceptable and the reasons for the data loss and implications must be investigated as a matter of great urgency to ensure that any potential harm is immediately identified, and that measures are put in place to ensure that this situation cannot arise again in the future.”
As an experienced clinical negligence firm, we have managed to secure an award of compensation for many clients who have experienced issues relating to delay and mistreatment of medical conditions. If you have suffered from poor treatment, Medical Accident Group can help. We have a team of dedicated clinical negligence solicitors, with over 30 years’ experience, who will guide you through the process of making a claim. If you believe you have a claim, call the team now on 0800 050 1668.