Friday, 1 August 2008

Consultant suspended after 17 patients with cancer wrongly get the all-clear

Seventeen cancer patients were wrongly given the all clear by a hospital after test results were misinterpreted, it was revealed yesterday.

The men and women may have missed out on months of potentially life-saving treatment because of the blunders at Hereford County Hospital.

In some cases the delay could have been more than two years. They have now received the devastating news that their initial diagnosis was wrong and have begun treatment.

In addition 14 people were told they had cancer when they did not. Some may have needlessly undergone debilitating treatment.

The scandal came to light after concerns were raised about a consultant who examined tissue samples at the hospital.

Six months ago a review of his work between May 2006 and August 2007 was started, and is now complete.

The consultant, who has not been named, has been suspended and is facing disciplinary action. Legal experts said the hospital may be sued by patients.

Paul Keetch, Liberal Democrat MP for Hereford, has sent a letter to Health Secretary Alan Johnson asking him to ensure resources are made available for treating the wrongly diagnosed patients.

Mr Keetch said: 'These people have not just been failed by Hereford, they have been failed by the NHS.

The article can be seen here