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West Suffolk Hospital investigates issue that may have delayed patient case reviews

West Suffolk Hospital is investigating an issue which could have caused delays in the review of vascular care patients’ cases.

The issue was highlighted in a report in The Guardian following claims that scans for patients with aneurysms were deleted after 90 days and the hospital’s email system failed to alert doctors they needed to check the scans before they disappeared from the system.

The report also claimed that concerns raised on Datix, an NHS system to register patient safety incidents, were dismissed.

West Suffolk Hospital
West Suffolk Hospital

Regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which inspected the hospital last year, was also alerted.

The hospital has denied scans were deleted from the system after 90 days as scan results remain in a patient's electronic health record permanently.

It has increased the length of time message alerts remain available from 45 to 90 days.

It has also developed an internal standard, which stipulates that all patients’ results should be actioned by clinicians within 28 days of the result being available.

The hospital also denied Datix reports were dismissed as every Datix was reviewed with a response from the trust.

A spokesman for West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust said: “Regrettably, we identified an issue with our vascular surgery services and an investigation is under way.

“All affected patients have been identified, are receiving the appropriate treatment and there is currently no evidence that patients have been harmed.”

A CQC spokesman added: “We were made aware of concerns regarding the handling of information submitted via the trust’s Datix incident reporting system.

“These concerns were followed up directly with the trust prior to and during CQC’s latest inspection. A report detailing the full findings from that inspection is expected to publish on our website in the coming weeks.”

The trust currently holds an ‘outstanding’ rating with the CQC.

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