Colchester: Claim that patient records were changed to hit targets in other departments away from the cancer wards at NHS Trust

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- Credit: Archant

Staff at a hospital trust being investigated by police after cancer patient records were manipulated have expressed concerns about how patient data was changed in other departments, it has been claimed.

Public services union , Unison, says it has been contacted by two members of staff at Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust who say that data was changed in departments away from the cancer wards, so treatment targets could be met.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) also claims it has been approached by a member with similar concerns -and that this person came to them after their concerns were not dealt with by the trust.

The trust says it takes the claims “extremely seriously”.

Colchester NHS Hospital trust, which runs Colchester General and Essex County hospitals, has been the focus of attention since a report by the Care Quality Commission found that the treatment of some cancer patients may have been delayed after staff had been bullied into altering their records. The report led to health watchdog, Monitor, placing the trust in Special Measures and Essex Police launching a criminal investigation.

Now the latest allegations suggest the scandal might reach beyond the treatment of cancer patients into other areas of the trust.

Regional organiser for Unison, Tim Roberts, said two people have come forward.

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He said: “We have received details of concerns that data has been changed in response to targets in two separate areas of the hospital away from the cancer wards.

“We are currently working with two people to find the best way to get these concerns out into the open.

“One we are supporting to go through the internal processes and with the other we have talked to HR on their behalf.

“We are not saying this problem is endemic within the trust and I have no doubt that the vast majority of data in the trust is robust - but there does seem to be pockets where patient data has been changed.”

Mr Roberts said it was not appropriate at this time to disclose what departments at the trust the concerns were about.

A spokesman for the RCN said; “A nurse has come forward with concerns about the manipulation of data. The trust is aware of those concerns and the RCN legal team is dealing with the protected disclosure made by the nurse.”

He added that the nurse had come forward after management at the trust had taken no action following her complaints.

Last night, no-one at the trust was available to respond to Unison’s allegations but a spokesman had earlier responded to the comments from the RCN.

He said: “The first time the trust heard these claims was last Monday when we were contacted by a reporter from the Health Service Journal.

“We take such claims extremely seriously but the Royal College of Nursing has still not formally advised us what the details are.

“We regularly work with the RCN on potential issues so we would appreciate it the RCN could contact us on this matter so we can work together on this.”

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