Irwin Mitchell Calls On NHS Trust To Ensure Patient Safety Following X-rays Error
Medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have spoken of their concern after it was revealed a hospital failed to diagnose lung cancer cases because patients’ x-rays had not been checked by appropriately qualified doctors.
The blunder came to light following an inspection of Portsmouth’s Queen Alexandra Hospital by health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
Junior doctors had told inspectors that they had been asked to undertake specialist radiology work despite not having the required training.
The CQC found that three patients had suffered ‘significant harm’. Two of the people affected have since died, it has been revealed.
During the visit earlier this summer, the CQC also discovered that Queen Alexandra Hospital had a backlog of 23,000 chest x-rays – none of which had been assessed by specially trained staff. Junior doctors had been tasked with reviewing some of the x-rays.
All NHS trusts across England have now been ordered to review their radiology services and inform the CQC about any backlogs, turnaround times and which staff review scans.
Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust issued an ‘unreserved apology’ to the families of patients affected.
Justine Spencer is a Partner at Irwin Mitchell’s Southampton office.
Expert OpinionThe findings of the CQC are deeply shocking. From our work in helping clients, we sadly know the terrible consequences that can occur when the level of care a patient should be expected to receive falls below required standards. Delays in diagnosis can be devastating in terms of ensuring that as many treatment options as possible are available.
“We don’t want there to be a loss of faith in the Health Service and welcome Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust’s apology. However, it is vital that the Trust now ensures it reviews procedures and introduces working practices to safeguard the safety of patients.
“We would encourage anyone who thinks they may have been affected to seek medical advice as soon as possible.” Justine Spencer - Partner
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