Two patients came to “severe harm” after their data was not completed properly at a teaching hospital.
St George’s University Healthcare Foundation Trust confirmed to HSJ this week that a clinical harm review had so far found two people who had experienced “severe harm”.
In a statement, the £600m turnover trust said the clinical harm group had so far carried out 104 patient assessments and found 92 cases of no harm and 10 cases of “low harm”.
The record keeping for elective treatment at St George’s has been investigated since last summer, when a consultancy firm found incomplete records for patients on the trust’s patient administration system.
This week the trust said it had cross-checked 2 million individual patient records.
In September, a trust spokesman said: “We are confident that, as we interrogate the data over the coming weeks and months, the number of patients actually affected will be far, far less than this. This has been the experience of other trusts.”
At the time of publication, it was not known what specialty the two patients who experienced sever harm were being treated in or how many patients remain to be assessed by the clinical harm group.
In September, the trust confirmed it had set up a hotline for GPs with concerns about their patients.
Last year, turnaround director Iain Lynam said in a board meeting that the problem had a “cultural element”. When HSJ asked the trust about this, a spokesman said: “The problems with data management have been allowed to increase and accumulate over a number of years. Rather than working to standard procedures well intentioned staff working at speed developed workarounds and shortcuts. We are now addressing the underlying process weaknesses.”
Non-executive director Sir Norman Williams, former president of the Royal College of Surgeons, asked the board about the “potential liability and what arrangements the trust had in place to manage this”.
The spokesman said: “This is an important issue, and one that will be addressed as part of the review process. However, our immediate priority is ensuring that we quickly identify those patients who may be at risk of harm, eg: through extended waiting times, so we can assess them and, where necessary, expedite their treatment.”
In response to HSJ’s enquiries about the clinical harm process the spokesman said: “Patient safety is our number one priority, which is why we are taking action to address the systemic problems with our data quality. The clinical harm review process involves looking in detail at those patients we judge to be at increased risk of harm as a result of the extensive validation process we are undertaking.”
Information provided to HSJ
7 March 2017