A medic studies an X-ray

Hospital to check 5,000 x-rays after recording system cock-up

Some 5,000 X-ray images dating back to 2007 are being checked by east Kent Hospitals staff after it emerged information was being stored on the wrong system.

Routinely when patients have an x-ray the image is stored on one record system and the patient details are stored on a separate system.

But in this case the information only appeared in the image file rather than being on the second record system

The issue discovered at East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust – which manages hospitals including the Kent and Canterbury – affects around 5,000 patients dating back 11 years.

Canterbury and Whitstable MP Rosie Duffield called for an immediate investigation. She said: “‘I am exceptionally concerned about recent news coming from the east Kent hospital trust.

“I am calling on the trust to publish all facts about the radiology imaging mis-matches and exactly how many patients have been affected. I am also calling for an independent investigation to be led by a Consultant Radiologist nominated by the Royal College of Radiologists.”

Hospitals chief executive Susan Acott

Ms Duffield said she would demand a meeting with the trust’s new permanent chief executive Susan Acott.

She went on: “Our local trust’s record on cancer care is woeful.

“At the moment a quarter of patients here are still not beginning their treatment for cancer or suspected cancer even nine weeks after an urgent GP referral.

“These reported confusions and misses by the radiology department will only serve to make things much, much worse. These blunders can risk lives.”

Julie Barton, interim divisional director for clinical services support division, said: “The team at east Kent hospitals process almost 700,000 examinations a year.

“We use two record systems: one to store the image and one that holds patient information.

“When routinely monitoring our systems, 5,000 records show that patient information is included with the image, rather than being recorded on two separate systems.

“Many of these are historical records that date back to 2007. We are now checking and updating these records to make sure information is recorded consistently across our systems.”

The east Kent hospitals trust says checks so far show no impact on patients and diagnosis, highlighting that all information was still available within the image records.

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