Exclusive A major Essex hospital trust failed to send more than 50,000 patient letters to GPs due to an IT fault, Pulse can reveal.
‘Over the last few years’, 53,000 letters from Mid and South Essex Foundation Trust were never delivered to GPs in the area, with local GPs telling Pulse clinical information was not passed and acted on as a result.
One GP told Pulse that the information ‘seemed to have disappeared into a computer glitch black hole’.
A meeting was also held yesterday night to discuss the situation and regional authorities have been informed.
The IT glitch – which meant some letters sent electronically to GPs from local hospitals were never received – has since been fixed, the trust told Pulse.
The trust said that a problem with IT systems at Mid and South Essex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust meant that some patient discharge summaries and clinic letters – updating GPs on the care and treatment their patients had received – were not sent electronically.
The problem with the IT systems dates back several years, and came to light when a GP surgery realised it was missing some information.
The Trust covers a population of 1.2 million, and around 53,000 electronic patients’ letters were not received by GPs.
However, this only affected some electronic transfers – many of the letters were also sent in paper form, and the patients themselves received their copies through the post.
The IT issue has been resolved, and now Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust and the local Integrated Care System are working together to review all of the letters and to make sure that GP patient records are up to date.
Dr Ronan Fenton, System Medical Director, said: ‘We will be giving our GP practices all of the support they need to process the backlog of discharge summaries and clinic letters.’
Capita, who manages NHS England’s primary care support service, was forced to apologise for failing to deliver nearly 50,000 cervical screening letters in 2018.