NHS England Investigations Finds Five Colchester Hospital Cancer Areas ‘Unsafe’

19 December 2013

NHS England Investigations Finds Five Colchester Hospital Cancer Areas ‘Unsafe’

An investigation by NHS England into hundreds of cancer cases at Colchester Hospital-which is currently at the centre of an Essex police enquiry-has found cancer care at the hospital to be ‘unsafe’. The investigation was pursuant to an initial report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which had initially found that staff changed data after feeling ‘pressured or bullied’ to do so.

NHS England has found five areas - including skin cancer and urology - were unsafe, with some of the problems emerging only six days ago. As a result of some of the findings, 13 cancer patients are to be recalled after worries that failings in their treatment may need further investigation into their individual cases and health status.

The report opined: "A number of serious failings in cancer services organisation management and infrastructure have been identified."

This included "unsafe information" and "unsustainable levels of staffing in key services".

The report further added: "More worryingly the immediate review confirmed the CQC finding that some Trust staff had a lack of confidence that concerns would be listened to."

The 5 cancer services areas deemed to be unsafe included urology, skin, brain, sarcoma, and radiology.

After the findings, Dr Andrew Pike, Essex director of NHS England said: "We tried to respond to do a rapid but thorough review of services.

"A number of worries were found and mitigating actions put in place to address this."

The review of the quality of cancer treatment and the mechanics of how the departments worked at Colchester Hospital was initiated by the CQC after inspectors found evidence that staff had been pressured into altering patients' cancer records in order to meet Government waiting time targets.

As recently as just six days ago, five areas of cancer treatment at Colchester Hospital - including skin cancer and urology were unsafe.

Regarding how patient data was being stored, collated, and utilised, investigators found problems with information systems with missing referral letters from GP's which lead to delays. Misinformation led to the wrong experts attending and discussing meetings for individual cases, which led to further delays in decision making regarding cancer treatment for those patients in question.

If you underwent cancer treatment at Colchester Hospital-or any other hospital or trust-and are concerned about the degree of treatment that you may have experienced, Mistreatment.com can provide you with specialist advice, support and guidance so that you understand your patient and healthcare rights and exactly where you stand.