Two managers have been suspended following clerical errors at a hospital trust.
West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust admitted discharging hundreds of suspected cancer patients by mistake, putting hundreds at risk.
It is believed that at least one person may have died as a result of the errors, which came to light when new managers found flaws in the process for patients being seen after referral by their GP or dentist, and could form grounds for medical negligence cases.
A £40,000 external investigation is currently being carried out by four authorities, including NHS England and the Trust Development Authority, to find out exactly what happened.
As many as 810 people have had their cases reviewed so far – 686 of which have been told there are no clinical concerns about the care they received – while 121 patients are yet to have their cases reviewed.
The trust, which is made up of Hemel Hempstead Hospital, Watford General Hospital and St Albans City Hospital, is in the process of contacting the family of a second patient who has since died. They had advanced cancer at the stage the initial referral was made.
In another case, someone had their diagnosis delayed due to errors but their cancer was found at the earliest stage.
Patients who missed their first appointment and were recorded as not showing up were discharged, even though NHS rules state patients should always be offered a second appointment.
The patients had been referred for urgent appointments by doctors between January 2010 and November 2013.
West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust has apologised to patients for any anxiety and distress caused by the events.
It has since implemented a new IT system to track each patient’s appointment, missed appointments and cancellations to make sure the mistakes do not happen again.
Misdiagnosis and mistreatment are fundamental forms of hospital negligence. If you are under the hospital’s care following a referral from your GP, any harm caused by misdiagnosis and subsequent mistreatment can be grounds for a hospital negligence claim.
Delays in treatment and testing that directly impact your chances of recovery may also be grounds for such claims.
Accident Advice Helpline can tell you if you’re entitled to any compensation, and how to go about the claims process.
Source: Daily Mail
Date Published: February 7, 2014
Author: David Brown