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Wednesday 20th June 2018

Patient records not being used

22nd May 2008

New research has shown that thousands of patients are being seen without their records being present.

Consulting Room

An investigation conducted by the Health Service Journal (HSJ) discovered that for the period 2006-2008, some 54,000 outpatients appointments were conducted with no records available.

The HSJ’s findings come from a poll of 49 hospital trusts that responded to inquiries and an analysis of two million outpatient appointments.

The journal also found that there was no standardised way of measuring how many patient records are missing each year.

On average, 2.6% of outpatient records were missing from the trusts, though six out of the 49 had 5% or more of notes missing or unavailable.

The highest rates was at City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust with 19% of outpatient records unavailable at the start of clinic, though the trust has stressed that it had taken steps to address the problem and established a new post to tackle the issue.

HSJ editor Richard Vize said that if the trend from the 49 trusts was replicated across the NHS it would equate to about 1.2 million outpatients in England will be seen without their notes every year.

Professor John Williams from the Royal College of Physicians said not having the full patient record at the time of the appointment was dangerous because there may be issues about a patient that the clinician s unaware of.

Vanessa Bourne from the Patients Association said there had been a “cavalier attitude? to patient records and the best solution was for patients to keep their own records.


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