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6-YEAR backlog of 22,000 vital medical letters

 
  • The documents stated what follow-up care was deemed necessary for patients
  • Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust bosses have deemed it a serious issue
  • It was caused by some staff not knowing they had to click 2 buttons to send them

Stephen Matthews For Mailonline

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An Investigation is underway to discover if anyone died at a scandal-hit hospital trust because of a preventable backlog of letters.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust saw 22,000 patients miss out on getting vital letters because of a computer blunder.

The documents stated what follow-up care was deemed necessary for anyone who was receiving treatment at the trust’s hospitals.

Letters went undelivered for six years because some members of staff were unsure they had to click two buttons to send the messages.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Worcestshire Royal Hospital, saw 22,000 patients miss out on getting vital letters because of a computer blunder

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Worcestshire Royal Hospital, saw 22,000 patients miss out on getting vital letters because of a computer blunder

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Worcestshire Royal Hospital, saw 22,000 patients miss out on getting vital letters because of a computer blunder

Senior bosses at the trust, which has been placed in special measures for two years, have deemed it a ‘serious issue’. 

An urgent review is underway 

An urgent review revealed half of the letters required no further medical action, but the remaining unchecked ones may have had adverse outcomes.  

LEFT IN ‘MELTDOWN’

Worcestershire Royal Hospital, ran by the trust, was described as being ‘in meltdown’ during one of the busiest winters ever recorded for the NHS.

Two patients died in its over-crowded corridors, one after waiting 35 hours for a bed. A third was killed after accidentally choking on their drip feed cord.

The deaths, which all happened between New Year’s Day and Tuesday January 3, followed a week of enormous pressure on the AE department.

Nurses were reportedly left in tears as a result of the surge in demand, and patients were stored on trolleys ‘three deep’ in the corridor.

The deaths followed a string of scandals to hit the trust over the last two years.

In 2012, the trust paid out more than £400,000 in compensation and issued dozens of apologies over an ‘appalling’ catalogue of neglect.

In one of the worst ever cases of multiple NHS failings, patients were left begging for water or left hungry after trays of food were dumped too far from their reach.

In April 2015 a specialist doctor – normally deployed to disaster zones across the world – was despatched to Worcestshire Royal after medics struggled to treat patients.

Michelle McKay, the Trust’s chief executive, said: ‘We are sorry that some letters within the Trust’s document management system have not been processed properly.

‘We regret that this means some patients may not have received the follow-up care they should have.

‘We are working closely with our primary care colleagues and partner health organisations to urgently review the individual cases of these patients and to ensure, where appropriate, patients receive the necessary follow-up care quickly.

‘A serious issue’ 

‘An investigation is underway to understand how this has happened, so we can put systems in place to avoid it happening again.

‘This is a serious issue which we are working hard to quickly address.’ 

The undelivered letters written following hospital outpatient appointments are from between 2011 and 2017, Worcester News reports.

The trust runs Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Kidderminster Hospital and Treatment Centre, Alexandra Hospital, in Redditch, and Evesham Community Hospital. 

Days after a damning report 

Its comes days after the trust, where treating patients in AE corridors has become ‘institutionalised’ was told it was still failing on safety.

Inspectors said it had yet to address deep concerns that were flagged by regulators who issued a formal warning in November.

‘No tangible improvement’ had been made by senior bosses at the trust, which was placed in special measures two years ago.

It was heavily criticised over the winter following the death of three patients in its over-crowded corridors. 

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