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Northern Ireland

NI X-ray delay meant two late cancer diagnosis cases

A major backlog of X-ray delays in the Northern Irish health system meant at least there two late diagnoses of cancer.

AT LEAST TWO – and possibly four – people in Northern Ireland were given delayed diagnoses of cancer, due to a massive backlog in processing over 18,500 X-rays in the Northern Irish public health service.

The Irish News reports that the diagnoses – confirmed in a leaked document seen by the paper – are being investigated as part of a “serious adverse incident” probe, after a report republished yesterday foudn major failings in the service’s frontline operations.

The report identified that at one hospital in Derry has a backlog of 3,400 unprocessed X-rays – which remained unreviewed for ten months, despite having built up in early 2010.

The crisis, the paper adds, was linked to a shortage of radiologists, excessive workloads, equipment issues, and the focus of the Western Health and Social Care Trust on other radiological priorities.

15 similar ‘serious adverse incident’ investigations were reported to the board between April and September of last year.

The Trust has apologised to the four people who received late diagnoses, and that each had “been advised” on the case.

Read more in the print edition of today’s Irish News >