ONE OF THE BIGGEST LOSSES OF SENSITIVE CLINICAL INFORMATION IN THE NHS's 69-YEAR HISTORY
- 27 Feb
NHS have lost over 500,000 pieces of confidential medical correspondence such as test results and treatment plans in "one of the biggest losses of sensitive clinical information in the NHS's 69-year history", the Guardian reports.
Documents containing patient data ranging from screening results to blood tests and diagnosis did not reach their intended recipients for more than five years, from 2011 to 2016, as the company which was supposed to deliver - a private company co-owned by the Department of Health and the French firm Sopra Steria - mistakenly stored them in a warehouse.
An inquiry which costs millions of pounds has been launched by NHS to find out how many patients have been affected:
- The clear-up team is led by the managing director of the primary-care support services arm of NHS England, Jill Matthews
- 2,500 cases which require more investigation to discover potential for harm have been identified
- A clinical review of patients who have died since the loss of documents was discovered is been undertaken
- The review above is to check if the loss of documents was a contributory factor to patient's death
- 708,000 pieces of correspondence were not delivered; 200,000 of which were temporary change of address forms which were not clinically relevant
The Guardian found that:
- Documents showing the team's work revealed that the lost material has been returned to 7,700 GP surgeries and assessed how much potential harm has been caused and
- GP's around England have been affected, with some causes of potential harm arising from missing correspondence
Chair of the BMA's GPs community and a family doctor in Yorkshire, Richard Vautrey, said:
"This is a very serious incident, it should never have happened and it's an example of what happens when the NHS tries to cut costs by inviting private companies to do work which they don't do properly, the private company, in this case being NHS Shared Business Services."
A spokesperson for the Department of Health also said:
"The department and NHS England have been completely transparent while work has been ongoing to resolve this issue, with patient safety as ever our first priority.
"In July, the health secretary informed parliament and in September, senior civil servants updated the public accounts committee."
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