This article was published on July 30th, 2014
West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust revealed that 810 patients were not chased up after they had missed urgent cancer appointments.
This case is particularly worrying as GP’s had previously warned hospital management back in 2012 about the blunders and had highlighted that cancer appointments needed chasing up as a matter of urgency, but instead patients were discharged.
There could be any number of reasons why patients dont attend an appointment including appointment letters not sent out or sent but to the wrong address or even sickness preventing attendance. Hospital protocol states that, in urgent cancer cases, the patient should have been contacted straight away and offered another appointment within 14 days. Instead patients were either incorrectly discharged or given a non urgent appointment which could potentially have life threatening consequences.
An investigation into the unbelievable mismanagement of patient care revealed that at least one of the incorrectly discharged patients involved in the scandal had already passed away and that more than 100 other patients may have had life-threatening delays.
A review found that the trust, which runs Watford, St Albans and Hemel Hempstead Hospitals in Hertfordshire had “A lack of continuity in leadership” and the report states that missed appointments were not followed up due to a lack of ‘appropriate systems’ to deal with complaints.
If you have been affected by delayed diagnosis or delays in cancer treatment then contact our specialist solicitors now on FREEPHONE 0800 1979 345 for guidance and advice about whether you are entitled to make a clinical negligence claim. Cancer diagnosis and treatment must be prompt which includes appointments, check-ups and follow ups in order to have a chance at beating this life threatening condition.