Hospital in waiting list blunder

HOSPITAL bosses have today launched an urgent investigation after discovering 29 patients had waited more than 13 weeks for an outpatients' appointment.

HOSPITAL bosses have today launched an urgent investigation after discovering 29 patients had waited more than 13 weeks for an outpatients' appointment.

Government targets state that everybody waiting for an outpatient appointment to see a specialist must be seen within that timeframe after being referred by their GP.

Andrew Reed, chief executive of the hospital, admitted a failure to follow procedure had caused the blunder and added he was disappointed at what had happened.

Mr Reed said the hospital was determined to find out exactly what had gone wrong to prevent further mistakes in the future.

He said: “We have contacted each of the patients concerned and all have been offered appointments within the next few days.

“We are very disappointed and unhappy about what has happened.

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“The evidence we have gathered already leads us to believe that a failure to follow the correct procedure is at the heart of the problem.

“We have sent a personal letter of apology to each patient affected by this.”

Government targets state that everybody waiting for an outpatients' appointment (i.e. to see a specialist) at the hospital must be seen within 13 weeks of being referred by their GP.

Until now the hospital, which receives more than 270,000 referral letters from GPs each year, had a 100 per cent record of meeting the outpatients' targets.

Jan Rowsell, hospital spokeswoman, said the discovery was made after a routine audit of outpatients' referral letters and said none of them date back further than April.

The hospital is now asking all patients who have visited their GP and been advised they need an outpatient appointment but not heard from the hospital within four weeks of seeing their GP, to get in touch with the hospital on 01473 418216 or 01473 418217.

Lines will be open from 8am to 9pm today and 8am to 5pm on Thursday and Friday.

Have you been affected by the mix-up? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk>

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