Concerned patients affected by Newcastle Hospital Letters scandal must seek advice

WORRIED patients who fear their health and safety may have been compromised by the Newcastle Hospitals missing letters scandal are being urged to contact our solicitors for immediate advice.

Following a routine inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulator, Newcastle Hospitals has today admitted that it failed to send out 24,000 letters from senior doctors to patients and their GPs because they became lost in a computer system.

According to an investigation by BBC News, the problem dating back to 2018 occurred when letters which needed to be signed-off by a senior doctor were placed in a folder that few staff knew existed.

Most letters explained what should happen when patients are discharged from hospital. But a significant number did spell out future care that was needed, meaning some crucial tests and results may have been missed by patients.

Serious implications for patient safety

Alixandra Cadden-Young, a vastly-experienced Clinical Negligence Solicitor from Longden, Walker & Renney Solicitors in Sunderland, is extremely worried about the health implications that the missing letters could have on patients.

Miss Cadden-Young said: “We are very concerned about this problem as it could have a significant impact on some patients who may have missed crucial tests which could affect their long-term health.

“If someone didn’t get a letter that they were supposed to, they will never have received the results of scans, X-rays or blood tests that may have been required.

“If a patient did need a change in medication or treatment, they may be absolutely unaware of the fact they needed to go to hospital, where they could have received a significant diagnosis.

“Whilst the extent to which people may be at risk is not yet known, I would urge anyone who is worried to get in touch with us. We have a dedicated team on hand to listen to any concerns and provide expert legal advice in complete confidence.”

To arrange a free consultation, email or call 0191 5666500 to discuss any concerns.

What is happening to address the issue?

Newcastle Hospital Trust is working to understand if there has been any impact to ongoing care and treatment of patients.

The Trust is immediately dealing with a 6,000-letter backlog from the last year and has submitted an action plan to ensure people are safe and mitigate any risk of avoidable delays in future treatment.

It is now reviewing 24,000 documents from its electronic records and will inform patients and their GPs directly if any concerns are identified.

People who are concerned can visit the CQC’s Feedback on Care website – or call 0191 5666 500 to take advantage of confidential advice from the expert Clinical Negligence team at Longden, Walker & Renney.

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