• Portsmouth Hospitals Trust an outlier on rates of surgery on early stage lung cancer patients
  • Trust saw two patients die after missed diagnoses in 2017
  • South coast hospital has since bought an extra CT scanner

The trust at the centre of a lung cancer deaths scandal has been identified as an outlier for providing surgery on fewer early stage patients than is normal.

Portsmouth Hospitals Trust had one of the lowest rates in England for surgery on patients with stage one or stage two of a particular form of lung cancer, according to the most recent National Lung Cancer Audit.

The data, published this month but covering 2017, showed the trust performing this surgery on 31 per cent of patients.

The most recent Getting It Right First Time report on cardiothoracic surgery, based on 2015 data, found a rate of surgery for this procedure ranging from 37.5 to 86.4 per cent nationally, something it described as “unacceptable”. GIRFT is an official programme hosted by NHS Improvement.

In 2017 the Care Quality Commission launched a national review of radiology services after it was revealed that the Portsmouth trust had failed to check chest X-rays properly, leading to missed diagnoses. Two patients subsequently died of lung cancer.

The trust was also revealed as an outlier by last year’s National Lung Cancer Audit.

In response to the latest report, the trust’s medical director John Knighton said he “recognise[d] that more work needs to be done in the area of surgical resection rates”.

Dr Knighton, who was appointed in July 2017, said: “We have developed a comprehensive plan to address this, which has been developed by our senior leadership team and our local thoracic surgery centre. This plan has been shared with the national lung cancer team.

“The trust has been identified as a national model for improvement for lung cancer management by the National Lung Cancer Audit. We are part of the NHS England lung cancer early detection pilot which aims to improve lung cancer survival rates in the UK.

“As part of this we have installed an additional CT scanner at our Queen Alexandra Hospital site, allowing us to see patients earlier, and help improve outcomes through early detection.”

New national audit chief appointed

The Royal College of Physicians has appointed a new clinical director of audit, who will oversee important outcomes measures.

The college, which oversees several national data collections that are used in the Getting It Right First Time programme, has appointed Jane Youde.

Dr Youde, previously director of rehabilitation and elderly care at Derby Hospitals Foundation Trust, will run the team responsible for national lung cancer audit, national asthma and COPD programme, and the falls and fracture fragility programme.

RCP clinical vice president David Oliver said: “Jane brings with her a wealth of experience across the NHS in leading programmes to improve care for patients, and her expertise in these areas is sure to be a considerable asset for the work of the RCP.”