Northern Trust concludes review of radiology images issue

The Trust wrote to 9,091 patients or their parents/guardians at the end of June 2021 to make them aware of the review concerning the images, which were taken in Antrim Area Hospital, Causeway Hospital, Whiteabbey Hospital, Mid Ulster Hospital and the Ballymena Health and Care Centre.

Commenting, Dr Seamus O’Reilly, Medical Director at the Northern Trust, and 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.”

Continuing Dr O’Reilly said: “A clinical assessment group made up off 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 a number of images which were considered as Level 3 discrepancies. That detailed clinical assessment, which has resulted in 69 patients being called back, was to determine whether any clinical harm occurred as a consequence of 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 negative Incident (SAI) review.

“We are currently in the time of action of appointing an independent SAI panel in line with regional guidance and have agreed 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 include the engagement of clinical experts in the specialties applicable to each individual case.

“The SAI review will also clarify 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 negative events occurring in the future.”

The Trust will now contact affected patients and families to inform them of the pending SAI review and to seek their participation throughout the time of action.

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