Intended for healthcare professionals


Hundreds of cases need reviewing after letters were shelved

BMJ 2017; 356 doi: (Published 28 February 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j1059
  1. Adrian O’Dowd
  1. London

Patient care and safety could easily have been compromised by a “serious” failing of a government agency to send important medical records onwards, it has emerged.

Large amounts of data on patients, including test results and diagnoses, were mistakenly put in storage between 2011 and 2016 by the NHS Shared Business Services agency before the mix up was discovered last year. Since then the vast majority of information and correspondence has now been delivered to hospitals and GP surgeries “wherever possible,” NHS England has said.

Details of the scale of the error emerged this week after the Guardian newspaper obtained documents showing that around 708 000 pieces of correspondence were undelivered over this period, though 200 000 of these were not clinically relevant.1

The data, which included copies …

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