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Out-of-hours records falsified

21st September 2012

An internal investigation has highlighted irregularities over computer records on call-outs at the out-of-hours doctors’ service in Cornwall.

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The probe, by Serco, discovered that records were falsified in order to make the service appear faster and found that 252 of 107,000 records between January and June 2012 were inconsistent or had been changed.

It comes after concerns were raised about record manipulation to help meet targets and an investigation by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The company’s managing director of clinical health Paul Forden said the changes in records were unacceptable and he has apologised to Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Primary Care Trust, which commissions the service.

He explained that when a doctor went to a call-out they completed two records; a driver’s log and a code on their computer saying they had arrived at the patient’s house. Staff who compiled the records took the shortest time of the two.

PCT chief executive Steve Moore said he was disappointed to discover the data to measure performance was inaccurate, although he acknowledged the number of inaccurate records was small.

“I am clear that Serco did not gain from these actions,” he added.

The NHS will now carry out independent validation of Serco’s report which will be repeated in six months.

Liberal Democrat MP for St Ives Andrew George said he was still not reassured but a PCT report has acknowledged that the service run by Serco was safe and effective and Serco says it now has enough doctors and nurses in place to take the service forward.

 

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