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Royal Liverpool hospital under scrutiny over delayed cancer diagnosis

Royal Liverpool Hospital has apologised for causing a patient distress after she was only told she had cancer at a follow-up appointment, by which time she had assumed that her test results were normal.

What happened?

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman heard that Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust had taken too long to tell the patient that she had cancer, as they had previously told her that if there were any abnormalities with her results she would be contacted before her follow up appointment was due.

She also claimed that she had initially attempted to complain to the Trust itself but was unhappy with the way they had dealt with the issue, resulting in her turning to the Ombudsman.

A report by the Ombudsman read:

“The trust could have given Miss A her diagnosis more quickly
but we felt that the time this took was not unreasonable
and would not have adversely affected her prognosis.
We did not uphold this part of the complaint.

“The trust had discussed with staff the fact that Miss A had
been given incorrect information about how she would
receive her results but it did not explain this
well to Miss A in its responses to
her complaint.

They then went on to say:

“We agreed with Miss A that the trust’s complaint handling was not acceptable and we upheld this part of the complaint.

They told the hospital they would pay the patient £250, apologise for the distress they had caused her and for their poor handling of her complaint, and to formulate a new course of action to prevent a similar situation occurring in the future.

Chief Nurse at the trust, Lisa Grant, has since stated that:

“Although there were no failings in the medical treatment
provided to this patient, we did not handle their
complaint in a timely or appropriate manner
and have apologised to the patient for
the distress this has caused them.

“We are currently reviewing our complaints handling processes
to address any shortcomings and improve the
quality of our responses.

“We have invested in our patient advice and liaison team and run
regular listening events, inviting people to tell us about
any concerns or positive experiences, so we
can learn from them.”

The Ombudsman decided to publish the results of their investigations into this matter online as a caution, to encourage organisations to learn from these kinds of mistakes and their criticism.

If you have been affected by delayed diagnosis, and you would like expert advice, contact the Hampson Hughes Solicitors Medical Negligence Team today on 0151 242 1025 or email

Source: View article

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