‘The NHS has wasted nearly two and a half million pounds reviewing the handling of misdirected clinical correspondence’ found the report Clinical Correspondence Handling in the NHS ordered by the House of Commons.
NHS England had not communicated effectively with GP surgeries about how they should handle misdirected correspondence.
The requirement for GP surgeries to return the correspondence to the sender was the expected practice since May 2015. ‘As a result, the problem got worse and remedial action for patients was delayed.’ The reports estimated that ‘one million pieces of clinical correspondence have not been handled appropriately.’ Also, that there was a ‘backlog of approximately 435,000 items of unprocessed clinical correspondence.’
The report identified that consultant expert review occurred about the impact this has had on two patients, and it had identified that patient harm could not be ruled out due to the delay in dealing with the misdirected correspondence. One patient’s referral should have occurred, and the other patient is now deceased.
NHS England estimates that it will cost £2.4m to review the new backlog of misdirected correspondence for evidence of patient harm as a result of this issue.
What do we do?
Ringrose Law’s medical negligence solicitors often handle claims on behalf of clients who have suffered as a result of mis-directed correspondence within the NHS, therefore this analysis comes as no surprise to us. It is however comforting to know that the NHS have now accepted this and are looking to improve their systems to try and ensure that this problem is ruled out in the future, so that patients do not continue to suffer harm as a result.
If you have any questions, queries or wish to discuss any matters relating to this, please do not hesitate to contact one of our Medical Negligence Specialists today, on 01522 561020.