Portsmouth hospital under fresh pressure to say sorry for cancer blunder

QUEEN Alexandra Hospital has come under renewed pressure to apologise to a patient after a mix-up mistakenly led him to believe he had a deadly form of cancer.

Tuesday, 1st March 2016, 6:00 am
A hospital error at QA led Ralph Chivers to believe he had an aggressive tumour in his tonsil (160322-2915)

Ralph Chivers has demanded an apology from the Cosham-based hospital after his biopsy results were muddled with another patient.

The error forced the self-employed gardener to have his healthy tonsils removed in 2012, as medics could not be sure who had cancer and who didn’t.

But, despite the slip-up, the hospital has not apologised, with Mr Chivers saying an official insisted the precautionary action by doctors was the safest option for the patient at the time.

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‘I think it stinks that they’ve not apologised,’ said Mr Chivers, of Blackberry Close, Waterlooville. ‘I have been left to suffer but no-one else has taken the blame for an error that made me, my family and friends think I had cancer.’

After The News reported on the blunder, a spokeswoman for Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, said it had been unaware of any complaint by Mr Chivers and said it would be ‘pleased to look into this further’.

But when Mr Chivers took the trust up on its offer, it said there was nothing it could do to help as his complaint had been received too late – something the 56-year-old is outraged over.

‘What I really want is for people to stand up and take responsibility for the errors that they have made and say sorry for it,’ he added.

Responding, a spokeswoman for Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust – which runs QA – said it was ‘disappointed’ to hear of Mr Chivers’ statements.

‘We are sorry to hear that despite the advice and support offered by staff in our complaints and patient advice and liaison service in recent days, Mr Chivers remains unhappy,’ added the official.

‘We confirm that he spoke with our staff about an issue which happened some four years previously and a legal matter he had been pursuing.

‘Staff informed Mr Chivers that, in line with the Department of Health complaints regulations, a formal complaint should be made within one year of an incident to allow a timely investigation to be carried out.

‘However, the consultants, nurses and other staff involved in Mr Chivers’ care have been in close communication with him since his treatment, and it is disappointing to hear these comments.

‘The quality of patient care is the highest priority of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, and feedback is highly valued and taken very seriously.’