NHS left 708,000 confidential patient letters undelivered
Thousands of test results and cancer screen letters sent between GPs and hospitals never made it to the patients.
Instead they have been stored in a warehouse for up to five years by private company NHS Shared Business Services.
Most of the issues have arisen when a patient has moved to a new house, or GP and the letters never got redirected.
There are more than 200 high priority cases under investigation over patient safety concerns.
Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: ‘It is totally unreasonable that the taxpayer is now having to fork out £2.44m in compensation payments to GPs to clear up this mess.
‘The Government need to make clear how much public money was paid in the first place to NHS SBS for these deliveries which never happened and what action is being take to try and recover those costs.
‘The sheer waste of valuable time by hospital staff who wrote these letters is staggering and the Government owes them an apology.’
The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt admitted he had known of the issues since March 2016, but didn’t make it public knowledge so GPs could investigate the most urgent cases first, without a barrage of calls from worried patients.
Health Minister Nicola Blackwood said
‘Payments made to GP practices, to the end of February 2017 for this work now total £2,442,750, for which final liability remains subject to discussion.
‘There has been no loss of correspondence and, at this point, there has been no confirmed case of a patient being harmed because of this incident.
‘Work continues to conduct the necessary assessments by registered GPs and undertake further clinical reviews, where required.
‘As, to date, no harm has been identified, no compensation has been paid to patients.’
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