Patients should be told about medical records scandal

Published: 27 Jun 2017

AvMA is calling upon NHS England to take urgent action to contact over 1,700 patients who may have suffered harm as a result of the blunder which has seen patient records wrongly destroyed.

AvMA is concerned that statements so far suggest that patients are not being told that they may potentially have been harmed. Instead it appears that the case is being investigated first and only if the investigation finds actual harm are patients being contacted.

This is at odds with the statutory duty of candour created in the wake of the Mid Staffordshire public inquiry, to ensure openness and honesty with patients. AvMA is also concerned that arrangements do not appear to have been made to ensure the affected patients have access to independent advice and support.

AvMA Chief Executive Peter Walsh said:

“This is a blunder of enormous proportions which may affect thousands of patients. It is scandalous that it has been covered up until now. It is also imperative that the duty of candour is followed and people are told if it ‘appears’ they have been harmed or they ‘could’ be harmed – not only if NHS deems they have.

These patients should also be put in touch with organisations who provide independent advice and support in these circumstances. This is something we specialise in and we are surprised that we have not been contacted by NHS England.”