Some 5,000 X-ray images dating back to 2007 are being checked by East Kent Hospitals staff after it was discovered that information was being stored on the wrong system.
Routinely when patients have an x-ray the image is stored on one record system and the patient details are stored on a separate system.
The issue discovered at East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust (Ekhuft) – which manages hospitals including the QEQM at Margate and the William Harvey in Ashford – was of patient data only appearing in the image file rather than being on the second record system.
Some 5,000 patients are affected dating back 11 years. East Kent Hospitals carry out some 700,000 x-rays each year.
Julie Barton, Interim Divisional Director for Clinical Services Support Division, said: “The team at East Kent Hospitals process almost 700,000 examinations a year.
“We use two record systems: one to store the image and one that holds patient information.
“When routinely monitoring our systems, 5000 records show that patient information is included with the image, rather than being recorded on two separate systems.
“Many of these are historical records that date back to 2007.
“We are now checking and updating these records to make sure information is recorded consistently across our systems.”
County councillor Karen Constantine says the record error should give cause to halt proposals to move QEQM’s stroke service, claiming one reason given for overhauling the service had been that QEQM was at capacity for x-ray imaging.
She added: “This should be enough to stop the Stroke service being moved. It’s total incompetence. No single residents could or should put their faith in the current East Kent Hospitals leadership team. It’s becoming a long list of overt failure.“
The issue was highlighted in a quality care report to members in February following discussion by the governance board. The report stated: “There remained an issue in relation to a backlog in radiology that was due to the IT system and its resilience. This was being managed, an escalation process was in place, and urgent and cancer patients were prioritised.”
Ekhuft says checks so far show no impact on patients and diagnosis, highlighting that all information was still available within the image records.