Tragically, included in these cases is one in which the patient has since passed away from the disease. The bowel screenings in question had been carried out on foot of GP referrals and as part of the National Bowel Screen Programme which was established by the HSE in 2007.
A statement on behalf of the East Ireland hospital group has divulged little by way of further detail of the nature of the cases involved nor of the circumstances surrounding how such a number of missed diagnoses in one hospital have occurred. A spokesperson has stated: “Once the report has been signed off it will need to be sent to all referenced parties within it before it can be published. We have no further comment to make at this time.”
The identification of the missed diagnoses of cancer is hugely concerning particularly given that most Bowel cancers are slow growing and can respond well to an early diagnosis. It is to be hoped that any failings which have been identified in the yet to be published review report are implemented as a matter of priority in order to prevent further avoidable deaths. The publication of figures from other Bowel Screening centres would also be welcome in order to clarify whether the high rate of missed diagnoses is confined to Wexford General Hospital and to maintain public confidence in the screening program.
22 February 2016