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Staff disciplined after hospital bookings blunder

PUBLISHED: 13:14 26 June 2008 | UPDATED: 13:23 05 October 2010

STAFF in charge of booking patients’ appointments at the Royal London Hospital have been disciplined for recording incorrect information on computers to meet Government targets. An investigation has discovered 573 patients over two years had to wait eight weeks longer for their operations than the 26-week target

By Gemma Collins

STAFF in charge of booking patients' appointments at the Royal London Hospital have been disciplined for recording incorrect information on computers to meet Government targets.

An investigation has discovered 573 patients over two years had to wait eight weeks longer for their operations than the 26-week target.

This had gone unnoticed because one of seven booking teams, dealing with non-emergency cases such as hip replacements and varicose vein operations, had been offering appointment dates without the necessary 21 days notice.

But when patients declined the dates, it was wrongly recorded in the computer system as 'self-deferrals.'

This meant they did not need to be declared as 'waiting' in excess of the 26-week target.

The Barts and The London NHS Trust, which runs the hospital in Whitechapel, has begun 'appropriate disciplinary proceedings' and started measures to ensure it is not repeated.

All the patients affected have now been treated, according to a spokesman, and the trust has written to them to apologise.

gemma.collins@archant.co.uk


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