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Northern Trust radiologist review finds 66 discrepancies

By October 13th, 2021COVID

CT Scan

Image source, Getty Images

A review of the work of a former locum consultant radiologist in the Northern Trust has identified major discrepancies in 66 images.

The trust has concluded a review of 13,030 scans and x-rays.

The review was launched in June after the General Medical Council raised concerns about the locum consultant radiologist’s work.

The highest level of hospital investigation will be carried out into the cases of 17 patients.

The doctor worked at hospitals run by the Northern Health Trust between July 2019 and February 2020.

More than 9,000 patients were contacted as part of the review.

The review identified six images at level one – a major discrepancy where errors or omissions in reporting could have had an immediate and significant clinical impact for the patients concerned.

A further 60 images were level two – a major discrepancy with a probable clinical impact.

“Most of the images categorised as having Level 1 and Level 2 discrepancies are CT scans but some are MRI scans, chest x-rays and other x-rays,” said the trust’s medical director, Seamus O’Reilly.

He said images where concerns were classed as level one and level two were reviewed on a weekly basis by a group of experts.

They also considered some images categorised as level three, where a clinical impact is unlikely.

“That detailed clinical assessment, which has resulted in 69 patients being called back, was to determine whether any clinical harm occurred as a result of the discrepancies found in the lookback review,” said Dr O’Reilly.

“I can confirm that following careful consideration, the clinical assessment group has determined that 17 patients should now be part of a Level 3 Serious Adverse Incident (SAI) review.”

Dr O’Reilly said an independent panel will provide individual case reports for each patient determined to be an SAI, explaining what happened, why it happened, and how this may have had an impact on the patient/relative and if the patient’s outcome would have been different had the discrepancy not occurred.

He added that the panel is expected to make recommendations on how radiology reporting processes may be strengthened to minimise the possibility of similar adverse events occurring in the future.

The trust said it will now contact affected patients and families to inform them of the pending SAI review and to seek their participation throughout the process.



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