Importance Of Skills Updates ‘Must Not Be Ignored By NHS Staff’

Radiologist Review Highlights Major Concerns

10.02.2011

A medical law expert at Irwin Mitchell has called on doctors to not underestimate the importance of ensuring their skills are regularly updated, following a review into the actions of a Lancashire-based radiologist.

The report by former Wirral Hospital NHS Trust chief executive Frank Burns revealed that a radiologist based at Accrington Victoria Hospital who was responsible for screening errors had not been subject to complete assessment checks for nine years.

It has been suggested that the issue meant 20 women were misdiagnosed and later recalled to be told they had breast cancer. In addition, a further 41 women had their diagnosis delayed due to incorrect screenings.

The doctor is currently suspended and has not carried out clinical work since April 2009.

Lindsay Wise of Irwin Mitchell’s Manchester office, who specialises in helping victims of clinical negligence, said the review highlights the importance of all NHS staff keeping their skills updated.

She explained: “Training and skills assessments play a key role in ensuring all medical practitioners have the necessary abilities to provide patients with the best possible standard of care. There is no room for error where people’s health is concerned, particularly with conditions where early detection and diagnosis is vital.

“This review has created a direct link between training failures and resultant problems which will have undoubtedly left those affected both deeply distressed and angry.
 
“It is vital that the NHS learns lessons from this review and that the strongest possible focus is placed on guaranteeing people are actively seeking to update skills and, where necessary, colleagues flag any concerns immediately.”