Media Statement regarding backlog of X rays at the Adelaide and Meath Hospital, Dublin incorporating the National Children’s Hospital (AMNCH) Tallaght
The Health Information and Quality Authority has today issued a statement regarding the backlog of unreported radiology films at the Adelaide and Meath Hospital, Dublin incorporating the National Children’s Hospital (AMNCH) Tallaght.
The Authority received a concern raised by a local general practitioner (GP) on 24 April 2009 which suggested that there was a problem with unopened orthopaedic referral letters and a backlog of radiology reporting at the Hospital. The Authority wrote to the former Chief Executive of AMNCH, Tallaght on 8 May 2009 requesting a meeting regarding this issue.
Staff from the Authority met with the former Chief Executive on 24 June 2009. At that meeting it was indicated that there were approximately 4,000 unreported X rays and that these were primarily check and repeat X rays or X rays that would not normally be reported by a radiologist such as dental X rays. At this meeting, the Authority was assured that there were no GP or Emergency Department patient X rays unreported. Furthermore, the Authority was informed by the former Chief Executive that this was a historic problem and that currently all X rays were being reported. The Chief Executive advised the Authority of the measures that were being taken by the Hospital and that the reporting of the backlog of 4,000 X rays would be completed by the end of July 2009.
At that meeting the Chief Executive informed the Authority that one delayed diagnosis for a patient had been identified. It was indicated that this delay had not affected the clinical outcome of the patient concerned and that the family of the patient had been informed by the Hospital. Following on from this meeting, on 30 June 2009 the Authority wrote to the Chief Executive stating that a further meeting would be needed to assess progress with addressing these issues.
The Authority met with the former Chief Executive, Michael Lyons, and the then Medical Director, Professor Kevin Conlon in August 2009. At that meeting the Authority was given assurances that the backlog was being reduced. Following the meeting, the Authority wrote to the Chief Executive on 8 September 2009 requesting a written report and followed this up with letters to the Chief Executive in October and again November 2009 repeating this request. In December 2009 the former Chief Executive retired and the Authority had immediate discussions with the new Chief Executive designate Professor Kevin Conlon. Two further meetings were arranged in December but were postponed.
A meeting took place on 14 January with the current Chief Executive to discuss progress. At that meeting the Authority was informed that the Hospital had now established that the scale of the backlog was much greater than previously indicated and in the region of 57000. The Chief Executive informed the Authority that these xrays included interoperative orthopaedic xrays which were reviewed by the orthopaedic surgeons, cardiac catheterisations which were reviewed by the cardiologists and repeat chest xrays which were reviewed by the relevant consultants. The Hospital set out the action plan that the Chief Executive had put in place since coming into post, which included additional radiology staffing. At that stage the Authority was informed that the backlog of X ray reporting would be removed by the end of March 2010. The Authority made it clear it would require a written report on progress. The Authority wrote to the Chief Executive in January and again on 4 March 2010 requesting such a report. This last letter requiring receipt of the report by 12 March 2010.
The Authority will continue to engage with AMNCH, Tallaght and the Health Service Executive (HSE), to ensure that any potential risks to patients are being managed and that this backlog of reporting is resolved as soon as possible. Furthermore, the Authority will require assurances that this type of backlog is not a problem in other hospitals and will be requesting the HSE to take steps to provide those assurances.
Marty Whelan, Head of Communications and Stakeholder Engagement
01 814 7481 / 086 2447 623 firstname.lastname@example.org