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West Suffolk Hospital investigating problem that may have led to delays in reviewing patients' cases

West Suffolk Hospital is investigating an issue which could have caused delays in the review of vascular care patients’ cases.

The issue was highlighted in a report in The Guardian following claims that scans for patients with aneurysms were deleted after 90 days and the hospital’s email system failed to alert doctors they needed to check the scans before they disappeared from the system.

The report also claimed that concerns raised on Datix, an NHS system to register patient safety incidents, were dismissed.

West Suffolk Hospital (26467704)
West Suffolk Hospital (26467704)

The Care Quality Commission (CQC), the regulatory body which inspected the hospital last year, was also alerted.

The hospital has denied scans were deleted from the system after 90 days as scan results remain in a patient’s electronic health record permanently.

It has increased the length of time message alerts remain available from 45 to 90 days.

It has also developed an internal standard, which stipulates that all patients’ results should be actioned by clinicians within 28 days of the result being available.

A spokesman for West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust said: “Regrettably, we identified an issue with our vascular surgery services and an investigation is under way.

“All affected patients have been identified, are receiving the appropriate treatment and there is currently no evidence that patients have been harmed.”

The trust currently holds an outstanding rating with the CQC.

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