6000 patients are left in limbo as private company fails to record radiograph results

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 13 April 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2713
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

Six thousand patients sent for radiography by a 24 hour care centre in northwest London have been left in limbo, with no evidence that a specialist radiologist ever reviewed the radiographs to see if the patients had any serious conditions.

NHS Brent has logged the failures at Brent Urgent Care Centre as a serious incident and has launched a full investigation. A review of 5% of the cases has indicated that 2% had “missed pathology” because their radiographs had not been reviewed—which means that up to 120 patients could potentially have experienced harm because of the failure.

The centre, which is located at Central Middlesex Hospital, is run by Care UK, a private company with many NHS contracts in primary and secondary care. It deals with minor illnesses and injuries that require urgent and immediate treatment, referring more serious cases to the emergency department at the hospital.

Care UK told NHS Brent on 30 March that it had …

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