Patient dies after hospital delay

Sir David Henshaw, chairman of the University of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust

Sir David Henshaw, chairman of the University of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust

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A PATIENT died after their hospital appointment was delayed.

A spokesman for the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust today expressed “regret” following the tragic death of the outpatient, who has not been named.

The patient was one of 19,000 who had an appointment put off due to delays - a problem which was highlighted last year.

George Nasmyth, medical director, of the trust, said: “Sadly, one patient whose appointment was delayed has since died.

“Their condition did deteriorate during the delay in them being seen again and this may have had an effect on their life expectancy.

“We regret the fact that there was any delay in them being seen and that this may have shortened their life.

“Our first priority now has to be ensure that delays like this cannot happen again.”

When asked the trust said it could not comment on individual cases but has apologised to patients whose care may have been affected due to delays in outpatient follow-up appointments.

The trust said patients with deteriorating hearing or sight may suffer longer term effects.

Mr Nasmyth added: “We have now reviewed the records of these patients and this shows that regrettably, as a consequence of the delayed appointments, the care of a number of patients may have been affected and did not reach the standard which we expected.

“These patients are now getting the appropriate care but we are writing to each of them to offer them the opportunity to discuss what has happened with one of our consultants in addition to any on-going treatment.”

All of the people involved in last year’s delays have now had their appointments and their care is proceeding as appropriate.

An additional 1,100 clinics were put on so they could be seen as soon as possible.

The trust reviewed cases which showed that about 663 people may have been affected to some degree by the delay in being seen.

Temporary effects include delays in treating skin conditions like psoriasis which has led to patients suffering the distress caused by the conditions for longer than would otherwise have been the case. Longer term effects on patients include deterioration in hearing or sight.

Sir David Henshaw, the interim chair of the trust, said: “It is unacceptable that these delays occurred. Local people are right to feel that they have been let down by this Trust in the past.”

An independent report on the delays said this system offers a permanent solution to preventing the situation from happening again.