Cancer fears after data mistakes at Imperial College

Imperial College Imperial College said the maximum number of records a GP had asked them to validate was 15

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Hundreds of patients thought to have cancer may have missed the chance of life-saving treatment, after mistakes by London's largest hospital trust.

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust has uncovered errors in its record keeping, affecting up to 900 patients.

Files on some patients were opened but not closed while others were duplicated.

The trust said it had not found any evidence that a delay in treatment had caused serious harm to patients.

Patients with possible cancer diagnoses are entitled to a hospital appointment within two weeks of their doctor referring them.

There are concerns that people could have been waiting for weeks.

Dr Dennis Heavey, a London GP, said: "The potential is there that these people have been referred as possible cancer cases, and if they hadn't been seen within the two-week period and lost the follow-up, they may have gone on to develop cancer and be diagnosed later than they should have been."

A spokesman for the trust said: "At present we are in the process of clinically validating all records that indicate that a patient may have been waiting longer than two weeks.

"We are seeking to validate around 900 patient records and have closed more than 300 records, as the majority indicated that patients have either received or are receiving treatment, or that the patient did not attend their appointment and their GP had advised there was no need for further follow-up.

"The maximum number of records we have asked any GP to validate is 15."

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