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CCG "shocked" by report on local cancer statistics

CCG "shocked" by report on local cancer statistics

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The Care Quality Commission (CQC) report which reveals that Colchester Hospital University Foundation Trust may have lied about cancer waiting time data has been described as “shocking and deeply concerning” by the local clinical commissioning group (CCG). 

North East Essex CCG had been informed of serious allegations against Colchester University Hospital Foundation Trust (CHUFT) on July 28 this year. 

Following an investigation by CQC, Monitor and NHS England, the foundation trust has been placed into special measures. 

A number of cancer patients suffered “undue delays in treatment” and there were inaccuracies with treatment waiting time data, CQC inspectors found. 

Thirty patients have been written to this week, offering to review their treatment. 

North East Essex CCG has been seeking “urgent assurance” from the hospital on patient safety, including a detailed review of each cancer treatment pathway, weekly monitoring and a jointly commissioned report from the NHS Cancer Intensive Support team. 

NHS England is leading a team of cancer specialists to check the safety of cancer care at the foundation trust. 

And the lead commissioner will be heading up an incident management team to co-ordinate a multi-partner response. 

The issues at CHUFT came to light during the Keogh Review in June. The team was approached by a whistle-blower concerned about cancer services at the trust. The alarm was passed to the CQC for investigation. 

A CCG spokesperson said: “Clinicians from the CCG are working intensively with the hospital, supporting them in making improvements – this includes going into the hospital to spend time with the doctors, nurses and other health professionals who provide care for cancer patients. 

“The hospital has said it will take the strongest action possible if staff have inappropriately adjusted cancer waiting time data and against anyone who may have bullied or coerced staff into taking such action. 

“We support such action by the trust and the regulators, but wish to acknowledge the majority of staff in the hospital who work so hard to continue to provide high quality care.” 

An NHS England statement said: “NHS England is working closely with the North East Essex CCG to ensure that CHUFT provides safe services and that this cannot happen again. 

“It is essential that current practice at the trust is compliant with national standards.” 

Chief inspector of hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards said: "If you are diagnosed with cancer - you are entitled to think that your hospital will do all they can to ensure you get treatment you need as soon as possible. It is shocking to think that people's lives may have been put at risk for the sake of the waiting time figures.

"Clearly this report raises questions over the safety and effectiveness of these services. But it also raises questions at the highest level. We have found that the concerns raised by staff in relation to changes made to people’s cancer pathways were not appropriately managed or investigated by senior staff of the Trust, which is why I am now recommending that this trust should be placed in special measures.”

Monitor has also launched a formal investigation into whether the hospital has breached the conditions of its licence, and is now considering whether to put the trust into special measures. 

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