The Northern Trust has finished reviewing radiology images that totalled 13,030 reported on by a locum consultant radiologist used by the trust in several locations between July 2019 and January 2020.
In June 2021, 9,091 patients have been written to by the trust to inform them that they or someone in their care had radiology images taken that were now being reviewed, taken at several hospitals – Antrim Area Hospital, Causeway Hospital, Whiteabbey Hospital, Mid Ulster Hospital and the Ballymena Health and Care Centre.
Medical Director at the Northern Trust, Dr Seamus O’Reilly, who is also Chair of the Steering Group for the lookback review, said: “I can confirm that we have completed the review of all of the images, and we have identified a total of six images with Level 1 discrepancies.
“In addition, we have identified a further 60 images with Level 2 discrepancies.
“Most of the images categorised as having Level 1 and Level 2 discrepancies are CT scans, but some are MRI scans, chest x-rays and other x-rays.”
Dr O’Reilly went on to say: “A clinical assessment group made up of senior clinicians has met each week throughout the review to carefully consider the images of patients where Level 1 and Level 2 discrepancies were found. They also reviewed several images that were considered as Level 3 discrepancies. That detailed clinical assessment, which resulted in 69 patients being called back, was to determine whether any clinical harm occurred due to the discrepancies found in the lookback review.
“I can confirm that following careful consideration; the clinical assessment group has determined that 17 patients should now be part of a Level 3 Serious Adverse Incident (SAI) review.
“We are currently in the process of appointing an independent SAI panel in line with regional guidance and have agreed to draft terms of reference which will consider the methodology for the Lookback Review processes, provide individual case reports for each patient determined to be an SAI, explaining what happened, why it happened, and how this may have had an impact on the patient/relative and if the patient’s outcome would have been different had the discrepancy not occurred. This will involve the engagement of clinical experts in the specialities relevant to each individual case.
“The SAI review will also identify any learning of relevance across the HSC, and the panel is expected to make recommendations on how radiology reporting processes may be strengthened to minimise the possibility of similar adverse events occurring in the future.”
The Trust will contact those patients and families that have been affected to inform them of the pending SAI review further and to seek their participation throughout the process.