Serious incident declared over East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust’s IT blunder

PUBLISHED: 12:25 10 September 2018 | UPDATED: 12:25 10 September 2018

Lister Hospital in Stevenage

Lister Hospital in Stevenage

Danny Loo Photography 2017

The East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust – which runs Stevenage’s Lister Hospital and Welwyn Garden City’s The New QEII Hospital – has declared a ‘serious incident’ after discovering up to 14,600 patient discharge summaries may not have been sent to GPs.

Michael Chilvers, medical director at the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust. Picture courtesy of the trust.Michael Chilvers, medical director at the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust. Picture courtesy of the trust.

This could mean patients have missed medical tests, scans or appointments, which would have been detailed in these letters.

The NHS trust installed a new electronic patient record system back in September last year and GPs raised concerns over missing discharge summaries over the following months, but the trust’s medical director, Michael Chilvers, said “this was not to be unexpected”.

Further GP concerns raised earlier this year led to the NHS trust launching a review, which has uncovered a major IT blunder.

Mr Chilvers said: “Insufficient evidence exists for some 14,600 records to be sure whether or not a discharge summary was written and sent.”

The NHS trust has informed its regulators – NHS Improvement and the Care Quality Commission – and declared a serious incident.

Medical consultants must now review all 14,600 patient records individually, to identify outstanding action.

Mr Chilvers said: “The NHS trust takes full responsibility for what has happened and is very aware of the potential additional workload for its GP colleagues, for which we apologise.

“The aim is not just to understand and rectify all historical issues, but to ensure steps are taken to prevent the problem recurring in future.”

He continued: “The trust is prioritising the review of discharge summaries for patients where a follow-up action, such as a further appointment or test, might have been needed.

“Should any outstanding actions be discovered, the trust will take the lead in getting them sorted.

“The majority are expected not to contain any follow-up actions that have still to take place.

“There is no evidence that any patient has come to harm as a result of not having had their discharge summary. However, this position will be kept under review while the incident investigation continues.”

Any patient worried about their discharge summary can call the Patient Advice and Liaison Service on 01438 285811 (Monday to Friday, office hours only) or email pals.enh-tr@nhs.net.

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