Colchester Hospital University Foundation Trust faces fresh claims that senior managers put pressure on staff to alter data, HSJ can reveal.

The new claims, from nurses, suggest the alleged problems at the Essex trust could go beyond the oncology department which is already facing a police investigation over allegations that cancer waiting time data was altered.

The Royal College of Nursing told HSJ its lawyers were investigating reports from a “number” of its members working in other parts of the hospital that they had also been pressurised to manipulate figures.

The RCN declined to give further details about the claims. However, it called for a widespread, fully independent investigation of Colchester going beyond the current trust-led probe.

The union’s eastern regional representative Karen Webb said: “Our legal department is now examining a number of claims which relate to the manipulation of data and pressure being put on our members by senior managers.

“We are very concerned that the trust is appointing its own investigatory team and we question how independent its investigations will be.

“We also believe that the investigation should not be limited to the cancer department as there are staff in other parts of the hospital who may be being put under similar pressure.”  

A Care Quality Commission report, published earlier this month, detailed staff claims that trust managers “bullied” staff to manipulate cancer patients’ data.

The report said there were inaccuracies with waiting time data relating to cancer treatment and a number of cancer patients may have suffered undue delays in treatment. The regulator has since passed the report to police.

The trust responded to the CQC findings by issuing an apology and announcing an “investigation into the issues raised” which will be led by professor Pat Troop, a former deputy chief medical officer of England, and former NHS Suffolk chief executive Carole Taylor-Brown.  

Responding to the RCN’s concerns, a trust spokesman said: “We are concerned by what the RCN is saying.

“This is the first time we’ve heard claims that senior managers put pressure on RCN members to manipulate data.

“We have already tried to contact the RCN to discuss this matter.”