Colchester: Report makes 14 recommendations that Colchester General Hospital must act on to improve its cancer services

Friday, December 20, 2013
6:00 AM

The review published by NHS England yesterday found problems in key areas of cancer treatment at Colchester Hospital NHS Trust.

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It highlighted problems in the treatment of five different types of cancers including those affecting skin, urology and the brain and nervous system. Radiology teams were also criticised for failing to have a process in place for passing on information about suspected new cancers found during treatments.

The report found that treatment “pathways”, which take the patient through the process of diagnosis and treatment, were “poorly documented” in two-thirds of cancer teams and that, in some cases, experts failed to attend team meetings, which had led to delays in decision-making.

The lack of a standard process for handing over patient cases to other hospitals was also criticised, while excessive workloads for staff was found in two thirds of the cancer teams who were interviewed.

The incident management team also reported that the trust’s Cancer Committee – made up of cancer experts – had failed to meet for some period, impacting on the quality of cancer services at Colchester General Hospital.

Half of the cancer teams visited also cited problems with the recording and tracking of data.

The team found that the use of multiple systems, including paper-based systems, had led to delays in recording information and some errors.

“It is clear there is a need for a bigger investment in document capture and information systems,” said Andy Pike, NHS director of the Essex area team.

The failings highlighted by the review were used to make 14 main recommendations that the Colchester Hospital NHS Trust has been instructed to act upon.

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