HOSPITAL patients in and around Alcester could unknowingly have been caught up in an x-ray scandal.
Campaigners have battling to lift the lid on what they say has been a ‘massive cover up’ over unreported X-rays at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust (WAHT).
A snap inspection by health watchdogs the Care Quality Commission discovered WAHT had failed to write up up some 11,000 X-ray reports.
These had been carried out in the radiology departments around Worcestershire, including the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, where many residents from Alcester, Studley and the surrounding area are treated.
Campaigners claim at least one patient has been found to be suffering from cancer – six months after her X-ray at WAHT.
The CQC ‘gold standard’ is two weeks and by law patients should not wait longer than six weeks for a diagnostic test.
The reports are vital as they tell medical staff exactly what has been found on an X-ray, allowing appropriate treatment to be prescribed.
Nigel Gilbert, chairman of the campaign group Betrayed By Their Trust (BBTT), said: “We’ve been telling people about this for nearly a year, MPs, councillors, Health Watch, the Clinical Commissioning Groups – thank goodness the CQC has taken action.”
WAHT is currently in special measures following an earlier CQC inspection.
A CQC spokesperson said: “CQC carried out an inspection regarding radiology at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust on July 27 following information that had been received. A report of our findings will be published in due course.”
Andrew Short, interim chief medical officer at WAHT said confirmed there had been an “unannounced visit” by CQC.
He added: “The CQC had a number of questions and concerns, about a backlog of unreported plain films (X-rays), which were predominantly internally requested routine X-rays, to which we have responded fully.
“Our response included a comprehensive action plan to address the issues raised, and to clear the backlog of unreported scans by October 2016. The backlog is composed of mainly routine x rays requested by our hospital consultants which are sent to the referring clinician for review and action.
“Historically, these were not reported by a radiologist, and today we have put a new process in place to ensure that those X-rays that need the back-up of a radiologist report get it in a timely way.”