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Investigation launched after referrals put on hold

3rd May 2011

Almost 2,000 referrals have been put on hold at two London trusts because of what has been described as "resourcing issues".

Consulting Room

Now, a serious incident investigation has been launched into the backlog.

HSJ has reported having sight of a memo from NHS Enfield turnaround consultant lead Margaret Blackett which says there is a backlog of around 1,500 patients referred to Barnet and Chase Farm Hospital Trust and around 1,000 destined for North Middlesex University Hospital Trust.

The trust has since been more specific about the figures, saying that 1,974 cases are involved.

None of the patients are urgent cancer cases but all are being assessed to see if any need to be seen by a specialist as soon as possible.

The memo raises the issue of “some internal problems” but added: “This is an isolated incident and systems are being reviewed to ensure that it does not occur again.”

A written apology has been sent to every patient apologising for the delay and senior hospital staff are telephoning those affected to arrange appointments.

NHS Enfield said the inadequate administration arose within the clinical assessment service (CAS) of the Choose and Book facility.

A spokesman added: “Interim additional clinical and clerical staff are being appointed as a temporary solution while a more permanent solution is put in place.”

The trust said no patient came to direct clinical harm as a result and no-one waited for more than six weeks for an appointment.

“There is no expectation that the 18 week target will be compromised,” he added.

 

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