Thousands of patient follow-up letters not sent to GPs

A computer system issue has meant that tens of thousands of hospital appointment follow-up letters have not been sent to GPs.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said it had a backlog of 22,000 letters from 2011 to 2017 about patient appointments and care.

An initial review into the letters error found 11,000 letters require no further medical actions, but the chief executive has said that some patients may not have received the follow-up care they should have.

The focus is now on the remaining letters, which should be completed by September, a statement said. Patients adversely affected will be contacted by the trust.

Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Kidderminster Hospital and Treatment Centre, and Alexandra Hospital are all run by the trust.

CQC recently rated the trust ‘inadequate’, finding that no ‘tangible improvements’ had been made since an earlier inspection in November.

Michelle McKay, chief executive, said: “We regret that this means some patients may not have received the follow-up care they should have.

“We are working closely with our primary care colleagues and partner health organisations to urgently review the individual cases of these patients and to ensure, where appropriate, patients receive the necessary follow-up care quickly.

"This is a serious issue which we are working hard to quickly address.

"However, it is important we reassure our local communities that more than half a million patients are seen in our outpatient departments each year and the vast majority of these patients will have had the appropriate letters sent to ensure they receive the right follow-up care."