Hospital shake up : urgent results wait

URGENT test results may be delayed as a result of the changes to Ipswich Hospital's secretarial system, it emerged today.

URGENT test results may be delayed as a result of the changes to Ipswich Hospital's secretarial system, it emerged today.

As The Evening Star continues to demand answers from the hospital about the perceived chaos to services following re-grading of 95 medical secretaries, the hospital admitted some post containing urgent letters and patient's results may be delayed by two to three weeks because of build-ups in the volume of post.

After previously claiming no urgent mail was being delayed, the admission came as the hospital also revealed it was unable to tell the Star the numbers of letters waiting to be sent out. It said calculating the figure would involve too much work.

According to hospital whistleblowers, morale in the hospital has reached rock-bottom since the re-grading. GPs have reported, via a letter from Suffolk Primary Care Trust's chief executive Carole Taylor-Brown to hospital chief executive Andrew Reed, that they fear delayed mail may be putting patients at risk.

Previously Jan Rowsell, spokeswoman for the hospital's management, said there were no delays involving urgent results. She said: “Our staff are very professional and they work on a priority system and they wouldn't dream of leaving something that was urgent.”

But today she backtracked and said she had been talking about the ongoing “back-log”, which stretched back for around three months, rather than the “build-up” which had developed as a result of the job changes.

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She said: “People are working night and day to make sure there is nothing in the build-up which is urgent. The build-up is from the end of April when the new system was introduced.

“The backlog is important but essentially routine correspondence, but all pieces of information are important.”

She said the hospital hoped to be able to clear both the build-up and back-log within the next two to three weeks.

But she was unable to say how many letters were involved in the delays because “each (hospital) directorate and each section of the directorate has their own figures” and it would take too long too”.

She said she believed the number only amounted to a small percentage of the overall number of letters.

n Have you been affected by the changes at Ipswich Hospital? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail

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