QUEEN Alexandra Hospital has today apologised unreservedly for the errors made in the reporting of chest x-rays.
As reported in The News, an independent inquiry found four people has suffered significant harm as a result of expert radiologists not checking chest x-rays coming through the emergency department.
A report by Verita found the harm causes was within an accepted rate of ‘discrepancy’ for trained staff.
But QA Hospital has apologised and said one patient having significant harm is ‘one too many’.
John Knighton, medical director for Portsmouth Hospital NHS Trust which runs QA Hospital, said: ‘At the end of February we delivered on our commitment to complete a review of the backlog of chest x-rays.
‘This has shown the vast majority of chest x-rays were interpreted sufficiently well by clinicians to ensure that patients received the appropriate treatment.
‘From a total of over 30,000 chest x-rays reviewed, four patients have so far been found to have suffered significant harm as a result of their x-ray not having been interpreted by a trained specialist.
‘Clearly any patient who suffers harm that could have been avoided, is one too many.
‘All affected patients or families have been spoken with. The anxiety and distress caused to them will have been profound and enduring and we apologise unreservedly.
‘No patient is ever thought of as a number or statistic, but in order to provide reassurance to our patients and community it is important to highlight that those who suffered significant harm represents only around one in ten thousand of all those who did not have their x-ray reported.’
Mr Knighton said since the Care Quality Commission identified the problem, QA Hospital has taken action to rectify the problems.
He added: ‘All chest x-rays from the emergency department are now formally reported by a trained specialist, our reporting policy has been changed to bring it in line with practice across the NHS, we are training dedicated reporting radiographers, as well as providing further training for clinical staff.
‘In order to provide reassurance this could not happen again, we commissioned an independent, external investigation into the root causes.
‘This has clearly identified that there were problems in the past with the trust’s governance processes, however the action we have taken in response to the CQC’s concerns, and the processes now in place are considered to be exemplary.’