Recent research findings indicate that the lack of follow up on many hospital tests could result in the NHS and related authorities being embroiled in medical negligence claims.
The British Medical Journal Quality and Safety’s recently published research study found that up to as much as three quarters of emergency care facility tests are never followed up upon. This can lead to such consequences as missed or delayed diagnoses for patients undergoing treatment.
It was found that test results were most commonly not pursued when a patient was moved to a separate hospital location. Many times this occurs when a patient is relocated to outpatient care from inpatient care.
In news that is sure to pique the interest of medical negligence solicitors, 79 of the 112 medical negligence claims generated during the course of the research study were missed diagnoses. All 79 claims were the result of harm befalling these patients.
The authors of the report concluded that the evidence suggests that the number of missed or overlooked test results constitutes a serious problem. Patient safety is significantly impacted by this behaviour, they added.
Many medical negligence victims have gone on to make use of personal injury solicitors in order to pursue legal action for missed or incorrect diagnoses. One such example is Catherine Watkins who was originally diagnosed with gallstones in September of 2010. However the 55 year old later discovered that she was in fact suffering from pancreatic cancer.
One legal expert stated that the problem may be worse than the research suggests. This is due to the amount of patients discharged early from hospital without the benefit of a proper follow up. The expert added that the situation could worsen in the face of disbanded Primary Care Trusts. This could lead to coordinated community care for some patients falling to the wayside.