Hospital chief needs to get to bottom of X-ray debacle

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Imagine the shock and fear of thousands of patients at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham today after revelations that X-rays were not reviewed by an expertly-trained clincian.

A Care Quality Commission (CGC) report says that 28,000 chest and abdomen scans between April 2016 and March this year from patients coming through A&E, were reviewed only by medical staff not trained to see subtle signs of what could be serious illnesses or conditions.

Back in July when the inspection was made there was a backlog of 23,000 scans waiting for a review by a radiologist.

In three instances staff missed signs of lung cancer which were later picked up by radiologists – and of those three, two patients have since died.

How can a major hospital let this happen?

That is a question asked by the current Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust chief executive Mark Cubbon.

He told the News it was totally unacceptable that any patient has suffered harm as a result of delays of clinicians reaching the appropriate diagnosis.

And quite rightly so, it is beyond unacceptable.

In the 21st century and with all the technology now available in the NHS, this should not have happened.

It transpires that some 10 years ago because of the escalating problem with the lack of capacity within radiology, reviews of standard chest X-rays by radiologists were stopped.

Mr Cubbon was at a loss to know the reasons behind that decision but has vowed, through an investigation, to find out and stop it happening in future. ‘I want to know exactly where things went wrong,’ he said.

While we all accept the NHS is under pressure in the current climate there is no excuse for not having the right checks by the right people in place.