Personal Injury, Serious Injury & Clinical Negligence

Southmead pathologist under investigation

An NHS spokesman has announced that Dr Bertran Denarie, a Pathologist at Southmead Hospital, is being investigated by NHS England.

An investigation by Southmead Hospital has revealed 106 cases in which Dr Denarie made mistakes, two of which have already led to a delay in diagnosis of cancer. The errors are thought to involve the testing of cervical biopsies which occurred in Bristol from 2014 onwards. 11 out of these 106 patients have required extra testing to ensure that no harm has come to them. Dr Denarie had previously practised in Salford and Gateshead and investigations are underway there to identify past errors.

NHS England said “We are aware that errors may have occurred in relation to the laboratory testing of cervical biopsies at four trusts … these were discovered as a result of routine audit and are being investigated by the trusts concerned and NHS England, with the support of Public Health England.

A spokesperson for Salford Royal Hospital, who are in the early stages of their investigation and have revealed three errors in results, said “We’ve been in contact with those three patients to apologise, explain the outcome of our review and discuss any changes we need to make to their treatment plan”.

The NHS is under a stricter duty than ever to inform patients when something has gone wrong in their care and led to any harm classified as more than “minor”. This Duty of Candour is no doubt the driving force behind all three Trusts openly discussing their investigations and should in the long run improve safety and satisfy any concerns or complaints that those affected may have.

However for the patients whose cancer diagnosis has been delayed, their harm could be anything but minor, with early diagnosis being the key to survival. In some circumstances an apology may not be enough to get a patient’s life back on track.

If you or a family member believe you may have been affected by this or have a similar problem at another hospital, contact Kerry Fifield (0345 209 1268) or Marguarita Tyne (0345 209 1055), clinical negligence specialists, at Clarke Willmott.