Last night I spoke to the Medical Director of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust in the light of concerns raised by the Care Quality Commission with regard to the NHS Trust's outpatients and diagnostics imaging department.
The CQC are reviewing radiology reporting across the NHS nationally and, as a result of their findings, have told Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust that it must take immediate action to ensure that patients' x-rays are reviewed by appropriately-trained clinicians.
Inspectors found a backlog of 23,000 chest X-rays from the preceding 12 months which had not been formally reviewed by radiologists, or other appropriately trained staff, meaning that, in 3 cases patients with lung cancer hadn't been assessed.
The CQC have placed a number of conditions on the Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust which include prioritising the backlog of unreported images.
In my conversation with John Knighton, Medical Director of the Trust, yesterday evening, he assured me that, since September, robust processes have been put in place to ensure that all images are now fully reported on and risk assessed. He also said that the Trust have started addressing the backlog of images that were not adequately considered. They will contact any patients who are adversely affected.
In the meantime, the Trust has set up a free phone helpline for anyone with concerned that they may have been affected - 0800 7837118.
A full report of the inspection is available at http://www.cqc.org.uk/provider/RHU.