Hospital could face cancer care investigation

Allegations from hospital trust staff about being forced to change cancer patients’ data could result in a police investigation.

Employees at Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust told inspectors that they had been pressured into altering data concerning patients and the treatment they were receiving. This was to make it appear as if patients were being treated in accordance with national guidelines.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said that a number of cancer patients had to deal with ‘undue delays’ and the data related to the waiting time for treatment showed ‘inaccuracies’. The findings have since been passed on to Essex Police who have confirmed they have been informed by the CQC and are looking over the information. It will then be decided whether a criminal investigation should be launched.

During the CQC’s inspections in August and September they found that 22 of the 61 care records they looked at showed patients had been put at risk of unsafe or ineffective care thanks to appointment or treatment delays. Despite an internal investigation in 2012 which raised concerns the hospital bosses did not give thorough attention to the allegations or do a follow-up with the patients affected.