Recalled patient numbers rise at Kerry hospital

The number of patients recalled at University Hospital Kerry for repeat scan procedures has increased substantially in a week, and the number of missed diagnoses has also gone up.

The errors uncovered this week are likely to go back to mid-2016.

A weekly report by the South/South West Hospital Group confirms that to date at University Hospital Kerry 114 patients have been recalled for repeat imaging.

This week four patients will require further investigation.

More than 80% of the 46,235 images have now been reviewed by the 10 radiologists undertaking the review of the scans of almost 27,000 patients.

The scans are the work of a single radiologist between March 2016 and July 2017.

At a briefing in early December, senior hospital managers said the team is working backwards chronologically.

That indicates that the scans misdiagnosed and the patients recalled this week relate to almost two years ago.

“The South/South West Hospital group have also been notified of two additionally missed/delayed diagnoses bringing the total identified to date from seven to nine,” it said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Independent Kerry TD Danny Healy-Rae has repeated his request for a breakdown of the radiological work at the radiology department.

Danny Healy-Rae asked for scan information.

The five radiologists in the department are working under a variety of contracts.

Two of them are on permanent HSE contracts; one is on a long-term agency contract; one is on a long-term HSE locum contract; and one is on a short-term agency contract.

The review of scans got underway in October but only became public in December. A number of extra radiologists were added to the review team when the review came to light.

Up to October, seven patients had been seriously misdiagnosed.

Public representatives in Co Kerry have warned against scapegoating an individual, saying the workload of a single radiologist appeared huge.

Hospital management says the team at University Hospital Kerry is commensurate with a hospital of its size but said it will look at this aspect as part of the review.

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