NHS loses 500,000 documents

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NHS loses 500,000 pieces of medical documents, putting patients at risk

Thousands of patients have been put at risk after the NHS lost more than 500,000 pieces of medical correspondence, including cancer test results. In a data blunder the Government is accused of covering up, the documents went undelivered for five years - ending up stashed in a warehouse rather than being sent to GPs. NHS England has launched an investigation to find out how many patients have been affected by the biggest loss of medical documents in the history of the health service, and whether delays in reports reaching their GPs have played a part in any deaths.

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 British Medical Association’s GP committee deputy chairman Richard Vautrey

The missing medical correspondence, mislaid by the NHS Shared Business Service (SBS), included blood and urine tests, treatment plans, material related to child protection cases and cancer diagnoses. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt quietly disclosed the details of the data loss in a written statement on last day of parliament before the summer break in July. However, the statement said only that an issue had been identified “whereby some correspondence in the mail redirection service has not reached the intended recipients”. At the time the Government refused to say how many patients had been affected by the blunder and Mr Hunt did not make clear the scale of the error.

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