24,000 hospital letters lost due to NHS computer glitch | NHS

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Essential exams and outcomes from scans and blood exams could have been missed by sufferers after a NHS hospital belief didn’t ship out 24,000 letters from senior docs because of a brand new laptop system.

The BBC reported that when letters from employees on the Newcastle hospitals basis NHS belief needed to be signed off from a senior physician they have been positioned right into a folder few employees knew existed and remained unsent.

Nearly all of the letters defined what ought to occur when sufferers have been discharged from hospital however a big quantity have been written by specialist clinics spelling out care that was wanted for sufferers, the broadcaster reported. A few of the letters would have been despatched to GPs.

Dr George Rae, a GP and chair of the North East BMA Council, instructed the BBC there could be “an unimaginable quantity of knowledge” throughout the letters.

“If you happen to didn’t get the letters, you wouldn’t have the outcomes of scans and X-rays or blood exams,” he mentioned.

He mentioned GPs could be “completely unaware” of a change in treatment or remedy if a affected person had gone to hospital and acquired a big analysis. Workers have been instructed to document any subsequent instances of affected person hurt.

The difficulty emerged after the well being and social care regulator the Care High quality Fee (CQC) performed a evaluate when employees on the belief raised issues about delays in sending out correspondence.

Martin Wilson, Newcastle hospitals’ chief working officer, mentioned the belief was “taking speedy steps to deal with the problem”.

“We sincerely apologise for any anxiousness or inconvenience this may increasingly trigger,” he mentioned. “If any issues are recognized, we are going to inform sufferers and their GPs instantly. We’re taking this difficulty very severely and are working rapidly to place issues proper.”

The CQC mentioned it was monitoring the belief intently and will examine it at any time if it had issues.

Sarah Dronsfield, CQC’s interim director of operations for the North Community, mentioned: “We inspected a number of core companies at Newcastle upon Tyne NHS belief in June and July 2023 as a part of our routine inspection exercise.

“Following that inspection, in September 2023, CQC acquired issues from belief employees about dangers to affected person security attributable to delays in sending out affected person correspondence.

“We took speedy motion to request additional element from the belief to grasp the extent to which individuals could also be in danger, and proof of the steps being taken to evaluate the influence on sufferers, guarantee persons are protected and mitigate any danger of avoidable delays in remedy going ahead.

“The belief has submitted an motion plan and volunteered to offer weekly updates on its progress towards that plan. We have now acquired assurance to deal with our speedy issues.

“Nevertheless, the belief stays topic to shut monitoring, and we will examine at any time ought to our monitoring reveal heightened issues or the necessity for additional motion. We are going to report on the total findings from our newest inspection and any areas the place the belief has been required to make enhancements as quickly as we’re capable of.

“If anybody has any issues concerning the care they’ve acquired they will tell us instantly through Give Suggestions on Care.”

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