Second report highlights ‘mis-recording’ waiting data at North West London Hospitals NHS Trust

David McVittie is the trust's chief executive

David McVittie is the trust's chief executive - Credit: Archant

A second report has highlighted the case of a hospital trust which lost track of patients referred to them for treatment and failed to meet government targets on waiting lists.

Central Middlesex Hospital in Acton Lane, Park Royal

Central Middlesex Hospital in Acton Lane, Park Royal - Credit: Archant

Research by the National Audit Office (NAO) released today has named The North West London Hospitals NHS Trust as one of three in the country who often “mis-recorded” data.

The trust, which manages Central Middlesex, St Mark’s and Northwick Park hospitals, announced the blunder hours after the Care Quality Commission (CQC) named them as presenting high risks for patients in October last year.

In today’s report the NAO also highlighted similar cases at Barnet and Chase Farm and Colchester hospital trusts.

NHS targets say 90 per cent of admitted hospital patients should start their treatment within 18 weeks.

Of those patients who do not need admitting to hospital, 95 per cent should be seen within 18 weeks of referral by their GP.

The NCO report said: “The North West London Hospitals NHS Trust identified that it had failed to record properly the waiting times of 2,700 (60 per cent) of its elective (pre-arranged) inpatients, including 12 who had waited more than 52 weeks for treatment.”

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The NAO report reviewed 650 orthopaedic patient waiting times across seven hospital trusts.

“There was an overall under-recording of three weeks (mean) per patient,” it concluded.

Today’s report said the typical waiting time for patients who had received treatment was “steadily increasing”.

The report concluded: “Value for money is being undermined by the problems with the completeness, consistency and accuracy of patient waiting time data; and by differences in the way that patient referrals to hospitals are managed.”

The study found that the recent strengthening of the 18-week target to focus on patients who had experienced very long waits “appears to have had a rapid and significant effect on reducing the numbers of people waiting a long time for treatment”.

David McVittie, chief executive of The North West London Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We were already aware of the issues raised prior to the National Audit Office’s report. We identified problems with our systems and processes last year and acted immediately.

“We have overhauled our processes and systems to prevent this happening again and I apologised to those patients affected at the time. I would like to reiterate how sorry I am that this happened.

“We have established an investigation panel, led by an external clinician, to provide us with further assurances that the situation has been fully resolved.

“The panel is due to report to the Trust in March.”