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Leading medical lawyer calls for urgent action following radiology failings at a teaching hospital

Clinical negligence lawyer and former radiographer, Suzanne White, has called for the government to do more to increase the number of radiologists and radiographers to better protect patients following failings at a teaching hospital led to three patients dying and eight coming to severe harm.

11 November 2019

A report into the radiology failings at St George’s University Hospitals Foundation Trust has identified multiple problems including staff missing cancers, improperly reported results and diagnoses being sent to unmonitored inboxes.               
 
The south London secondary and tertiary provider said there were “incidental findings of malignancy that were not escalated initially by clinicians” in four of the eight incidents.
 
The report, which was obtained by Health Service Journal, added: “It was apparent that fax alerts or emails to individual clinicians would not always provide a sufficient[ly] systematic approach.”
 
“Severe harm” is defined as “permanent harm” by the NHS National Reporting and Learning Service
 
The trust has now introduced “clinic outcome forms with the aim to capture actions from any consultation in a reliable way”.
 
Head of clinical negligence at Leigh Day and former NHS radiographer, Suzanne White, said: 
 
“There has been a huge increase on the number of scans now being undertaken on patients due to improvements in radiological technology. This means that there is much more clinical information for radiologists to read and report on, but also there is a desperate shortage of radiologist and radiographers; very sadly this of course is having an impact on patient safety and  inevitably serious errors are being made.” 

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