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Colchester: More cancer patients waited longer than 100 days for treatment

Colchester Hospital.

Colchester Hospital.

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Three more patients than previously thought waited longer than 100 days for treatment at Colchester General Hospital.

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An inspection report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) reveals the health watchdog is taking enforcement action against Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust (CHUFT).

First published in November, the report said three patients had waited far longer than the maximum 62 days for treatment to begin.

But an updated report released this month shows a further three cancer patients also waited more than 100 days.

The new patients had been identified by the hospital trust, which is now investigating the cases in more detail through its serious incident procedure.

Since the CQC inspected it in August and September last year, the hospital has been placed under special measures by Monitor and is also subject to a criminal investigation by Essex Police.

Enforcement action was launched by the CQC as the hospital “had not ensured they effectively monitored the management of cancer service to ensure that treatment was provided in accordance with the national requirements”.

“The service failed to act on information raised by staff identifying the alterations to the cancer pathways had occurred.”

Staff reported they were pressured or bullied into changing data to make it seem like people were being treated in line with national guidelines, according to the report.

The hospital has already apologised for the scandal.

A CHUFT spokesman said: “On November 5 last year the CQC published its original report following an inspection of our cancer services and nine days later we were put into special measures by health sector regulator Monitor, on the recommendation of the CQC.

“As a consequence of this we have developed a comprehensive action plan to improve our cancer services, which has been approved by Monitor

“On February 3 Monitor announced the appointment of the Royal Marsden to provide specifically tailored support to help us improve our cancer services for our patients, which we welcome and are finding extremely helpful.

“Therefore we recognise and fully accept we need to improve our cancer performance and have a detailed plan and expert support to help us achieve this.”

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