QUEEN Alexandra Hospital has cleared a backlog of 29,000 chest x-rays which had not originally been reviewed by an expertly-trained clinician, officials say.
In December the Portsmouth hospital had been tasked to clear the backlog following a report by health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
Following an inspection, it was found that thousands of chest and abdomen X-rays, from patients coming through A&E between April 2016 and March last year, were only reviewed by medical staff not trained to see subtle signs of what could be serious illnesses or conditions.
Since September, QA Hospital has been working to reduce the backlog and is on target to clear it in the next two weeks.
Speaking at yesterday’s Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust board meeting, John Knighton, medical director, said: ‘There are about 3,000 scans left, so we are on our trajectory to have completed this by the middle of February.
‘There are around 20 cases that are potential cases of missed lesions. Half of these have gone through a full investigation process and only one has been identified as an incident of severe harm.
‘Just having one is too many, but it is somewhat encouraging there hasn’t been the number that we feared there could have been.
‘Obviously that number could go with the remaining 3,000 we have left to review.’
Following its inspection, the CQC put four warning notices on QA Hospital. They were:
n The trust must take steps to prioritise and deal with the backlog of unreported images (including those taken before January 2017), assess the impact on patients and notify any patient who is adversely affected.
n There must be robust processes put in place to ensure that any images are reported on and risk-assessed.
n Details of how the backlog will be addressed must be submitted to CQC.
n The trust must send CQC weekly reports on the size of the backlog and times taken for reports to be produced.
There’s about 3,000 scans left so we are on our trajectory to have completed this by the middle of February.John Knighton