Inquiry reveals tampering of patient notes at Colchester Hospital
During a recent investigation by the CQC (Care Quality Commission), it was found that patient records at the Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust relating to cancer treatments had been falsified in order to comply with waiting list targets.
On close inspection, the CQC staff determined that the individual patient records did not match the hospital’s centralised records, and that there had been delays in some patients receiving cancer treatments. The Police have been asked to investigate potential criminal liability.
The Colchester NHS Trust provides cancer treatments (including radiotherapy and oncology services) to a population of around 670,000 across north and mid-Essex.
Concerns had initially been raised by staff at the Trust regarding cancer waiting times, specifically in the areas of urology (which covers disorders of the kidney, ureters, bladder, prostate and male reproductive organs), and lower gastrointestinal (which covers the diagnosis and treatment of disorders in the lower half of the gastrointestinal system, including the colon).
In their report the CQC stated that the hospital did not have adequate systems in place to ensure the safety and welfare of its patients. The medical records of people being treated on the cancer pathway had been changed, and were not an accurate reflection of the true cancer wait time system.
It was found that the central records did not correlate with individual patient records, which confirmed the exact dates and times of treatments. Consequently, many patients were at risk of or have already suffered delays in their treatment which may have a negative impact on their condition and prognosis.
When treating time-critical conditions such as cancer, the earlier the diagnosis and treatment, the better the prognosis.
If you believe you or a loved one has experienced an unacceptable delay in being diagnosed or treated for cancer, our specialist team can provide help and advice.