Up to 270,000 items of Worcestershire patient's data could be inaccessible

(5765971)

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First published in News

A PATIENT’S three-year battle for a copy of an ultrasound scan of his heart has discovered hundreds of thousands of similar images carried out in Worcestershire may be inaccessible due to a technology failure.

After being told he could not be provided with a copy of his scan as the information could not be accessed, Andrew Brown from St John’s made a freedom of information request revealing up to 270,000 similar images was currently inaccessible.

As previously reported by your Worcester News, Mr Brown was labelled a ‘vexatious complainant’ by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust after raising concerns about his treatment at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

Although the 50-year-old was told he would have to pay £2,000 for a copy of the scan carried out in 2004, he finally provided with a copy last October.

But Mr Brown said he had been told by the trust he would not receive compensation for the time taken to provide him with the image.

“I think it is only right that anyone waiting three years for what they should have had in a month should receive some,” he said.

“Had the trust kept its records in an accessible format I would have had my request met for a tenner almost three years ago.

“That would be about the time it might take to build a hospital

“It has been a great deal of work as well as very stressful and frustrating trying to get a copy of my medical records.”

A spokesman from the trust said the images Mr Brown had requested were stored on obsolete technology dating back to 2004.

“It has taken time as we had to ascertain from the successor company whether they were able to supply the technology for us to be able to retrieve them,” she said.

“Once this was confirmed, our staff then had to be trained how to use it.

“We have kept Mr Brown informed of our progress on a regular basis and will be meeting with him soon to discuss the scans.”

She added the system storing the images had failed while transferring data, meaning some images from between 2002 to 2004 were not transferred correctly.

“Our worst case estimate is that this could have affected about 270,000 files,” she said.

“However, at the time work was undertaken to ensure that there was no detriment to those patients.

“We still hold the magnetic discs for this period and retrieval could be possible.

“It is important to note that in the event that a patient requires treatment, all clinical decisions and treatment are based on diagnostic tests undertaken at the time and as required, rather than from historical records.”

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