The NHS has launched a ‘clinical harm review’ to determine if any patients’ have come to harm following the revelation that over 28,000 letters were not sent to GPs, following a mistake by the IT company, Cerner.

A leaked memo, seen by The Guardian, details an IT failure that meant 28,563 pieces of confidential medical correspondence to GPs from the Royal Free London group of hospitals were not sent between June 2019 last year and last month. The memo was sent 7 February 2020 by Caroline Clarke, the chief executive of the Royal Free London group of hospitals, which include Barnet and Chase Farm.

The letters should have been sent by doctors at Barnet and Chase Farm hospitals in north London to GPs after consultations with 22,144 patients. The letters summarise what patients discussed with their consultants about their diagnosis and treatment. A “technical error” on updates to the system run by Cerner has been blamed for the problem.

Rachel Power, the chief executive of the Patients Association, told the Guardian that: “Patients who have attended these two hospitals will now be very worried about whether their care might have been compromised by this IT bungle…..we know that sharing information to join up patient care is a major weakness of the NHS, so it is very disappointing to see that this failure took over six months to be detected.”

Cerner UK, is the UK arm of the US company Cerner with headquarters in North Kansas City, Missouri. The company specialises in IT for healthcare companies. It operates in 35 countries worldwide. Cerner UK reported that in November 2018, the Royal Free Hospital group, including Chase Farm and Barnet hospitals, launched the Cerner Millennium® electronic health record (EHR) across their three hospital sites.

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