Cancer Care Review Completed For 121 Patients

The West Herts Hospital NHS Trust - which runs hospitals in Watford, St Albans and Hemel Hempstead has announced the there's no "clinical concern" for the remaining 121 patients who had cases unde further review.

In February 2014, the Trust announced it had been investigating its referral and care pathways for patients with suspected cancer and had contacted 810 people to let them know their care had been reviewed.  

Of these, 686 were told that we had no clinical concerns about the care they received.  However, they were written to because we wanted to be open and to let them know that we had proactively reviewed their patient record.  A further 121 were told that their case was still being reviewed (in partnership with their GP or dentist).  

We can now confirm that the outstanding 121 cases have been completed and that all of the patients have been contacted to say we have no clinical concerns about the care they received in relation to the review.

A delay or even complete oversight in chasing up patients after their first consultant appointment led to the problems in the first place, it's believed one person died as a result.

Today, Samantha Jones, Chief Executive of the West Herts NHS Trust told Heart: "I am pleased to be able to confirm that we have now completed the review of the remaining patients and I am glad that no clinical concerns were identified.  However, I would like to apologise again for any unnecessary distress we have caused."

Significant changes to help prevent this type of error happening again

Ms Jones added: "I would like to reiterate that we have made significant changes to help prevent this type of error happening again.  This includes implementing a new information system to track each patient's appointment, missed appointments and cancellations.

All patients affected by this review have been contacted.  Therefore, people who have not been contacted have no reason to be concerned.  However, people with concerns - including those who have been contacted - can call our dedicated information line if they need to (01923 217 100 - open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm).  They can also make an appointment to see their GP."

An external independent investigation has been launched and is being led by a former NHS Chief Executive who specialises in patient safety.  We are also auditing other areas of our cancer care to ensure they are in line with best practice.  

The external independent investigation is expected to report in summer 2014.

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