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Hospital Trust’s Internal Review Reveals 400 Patients Misdiagnosed

By Principal Lawyer Head of Clinical Negligence Manchester

A review by health chiefs at Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has identified a shocking number of failings. 

These included the fact that 400 patients were misdiagnosed, and in 105 cases - there had been possible delays in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

The review was carried out after a rise in the number of failings reported by hospital staff. In 2015 alone, between April and August, there have been 11 serious incidents regarding misdiagnosis at the Trust reported by staff compared to just five serious incidents reported between January 2010 and March 2015.

The Findings at a Glance

The extent of the concerns identified by the review is particularly concerning, and includes:

  • A total of 1,635 incidents between January 2010 and April 2015, of which 398 required further review.
  • 105 incidents of possible delays in diagnosis or treatment of cancer; 13 potential missed fractures; 280 of which related to blood clots.
  • 78 incidents were scrutinised in more detail and 20 were determined to be potentially serious incidents; 14 were recorded as causing ‘severe harm’ and four ‘moderate’ harm.
  • The trust received 56 complaints between 2010 and April 2015.

Response to the Review

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has said that whilst the review was not “unprecedented” it was “significant” and they are “closely monitoring” the situation before they decide whether they need to intervene.

A Pennine Acute NHS Trust spokesman said, “Patient safety and the quality of care we provide to our patients is our top priority.”

“The nature of healthcare means the Board and our staff are committed to promoting continual learning and improved clinical practice in line with the national guidance and best practice.”

“As we strengthen our governance processes and incident reporting, we have seen an increase in the number of clinical staff coming forward to highlight areas where we can make care safer and ensure we are doing all that we can to provide high quality care.”

Expert Opinion

The Trust began their investigation due to a surge in the number of failings reported internally. The Trust that, “There is no data available or evidence to suggest the Trust is an outlier in this area.”

It will therefore be interesting to see whether any other Trusts follow this example. The Clinical Negligence team at Slater and Gordon are aware from the work we do on behalf of our clients that the issues of misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis are prevalent in other Trusts.

It is very much hoped that reviews like this will take place on a more widespread basis, providing transparency and opportunities for Trusts to learn from their mistakes and to improve the services they provide to patients.

More often than not, earlier diagnosis and treatment can lead to a much more positive outcome for patients, sometimes enabling them to return to an independent lifestyle when this would not have been possible with later treatment. In regard to cancer diagnoses cases, earlier diagnosis and treatment can literally mean that the patient has a much greater chance of surviving an otherwise fatal illness.

Jenny Urwin is a Senior Clinical Negligence Solicitor at Slater and Gordon in Manchester.

If you or a member of your family suffered from negligent treatment in hospital, call our Medical Negligence Solicitors for a free consultation on freephone 0800 916 9049 or contact us online.

 

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