200 High Priority Clinical Documents Outstanding After Patient Data Failures

Over 200 high priority clinical documents are still awaiting assessment following over 70,000 items of patient data being found undelivered in a warehouse last year.

Ministers have documented the fact that payments related to this information have now exceeded £2.4 million.

Yet over 700 items still require further clinical assessment, with over 200 of these cases considered a high priority.

Health minister Nicola Blackwood provided the information in response to a parliamentary question from Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth.

Ashworth requested information from Blackwood regarding whether the final liability for payments to GPs was still under discussion.

The level of the scandal had been conceded by health secretary Jeremy Hunt just last month, with over 700,000 items of undelivered correspondence, dated between 2011 and 2016, having been discovered in the aforementioned warehouse.

Clinical information was contained among the vast number of items, which should have been delivered by former primary care support services provider NHS Shared Business Service.

The letters should have been redirected to patients’ new practices, but went undelivered in the East Midlands, north-east London and south-west England.

GPC and NHS England had already agreed a framework in order to reimburse practices for any additional workload that they face as a result of the blunder.

Blackwood outlined the level of monies already spent in order to address this issue.

“Payments made to GP practices, to the end of February 2017 for this work now total £2,442,750, for which final liability remains subject to discussion. Work continues to conduct the necessary assessments by registered GPs and undertake further clinical reviews, where required. As, to date, no harm has been identified, no compensation has been paid to patients.”

It was also revealed in parliament that the National Audit Office will conduct an enquiry into the incident.

This will examine the contract management of the outsourced service, as well as investigating how the error occurred and the immediate response to the problem.

In addition, the Information Commissioner’s Office, NHS England and the Department of Health will all run parallel investigations.

Amid a great deal of scepticism, government ministers have flatly denied covering up any failure to deliver patient data.

When revealing the problem, Hunt claimed that he had acted on advice from officials not to reveal the situation until an assessment of the risk had been completed and practices informed in summer 2016.

The health secretary has accepted full responsibility for the situation, which is clearly an embarrassment to both the government and NHS.

 

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