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CQC Calls For Special Measures At Essex University Hospital

Important Data Relating To Cancer Treatments Was Found To Be Inaccurate


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has recommended that an Essex hospital is put into special measures after an investigation found that data relating to cancer patients had been changed.

Chief inspector of hospitals Sir Mike Richards believes the way some people were treated at Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust was "shocking".

The CQC found that information relating to cancer treatment waiting times appeared to have been inaccurate in some cases.

It emerged that staff claimed they were put under pressure to alter certain records so it appeared that patients were treated in line with national guidelines. This, Sir Mike suggested, may have put people at serious risk.

"Every year around 6,000 people go to Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust to be treated for cancer. It is essential that people in north Essex can have confidence in their hospital," he commented.

"Clearly this report raises questions over the safety and effectiveness of these services. But it also raises questions at the highest level."

The report findings have now been passed on to Monitor - the sector regulator for health services in the UK - and the police are also involved.

Of the 61 records that were scrutinised by the CQC, 22 showed that people had been put in danger because of delays in receiving essential treatment.

Regional director for Monitor Adam Cayley confirmed that the body has launched a formal investigation into whether the hospital breached the conditions of its licence. Monitor is also considering the CQC's recommendation to put the trust into special measures.

Mr Cayley added that the hospital has been instructed to conduct a review to see if any other patients did not receive the necessary treatment in accordance with the UK's guidelines.

In response to the CQC report, chief executive of the Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust Dr Gordon Coutts said he is "very concerned" about the findings and the organisation is "truly sorry" that some patients did not receive the highest standards of care.

Expert Opinion
The findings of the CQC are incredibly worrying and it is concerning to see claims that hospital staff were altering cancer patient’s records to try and reflect national guidelines.

“It is vital that the public are made aware of this information and they are able to consider their options in terms of their own healthcare.

“Patient care and safety should be a number one priority for any healthcare provider and it is essential that every effort is made to investigate the findings of the CQC’s analysis of the Colchester Hospital University NHS Hospital Trust to consider what can be done to improve standards in these areas.”
Lisa Jordan, Partner