Royal Victoria Hospital: X-rays

Part of Health, Social Services and Public Safety – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:30 pm on 25th June 2012.

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Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP 3:30 pm, 25th June 2012

We could possibly answer some of the questions, and we could speculate on some of them. We have sought to carry out a root-cause analysis of what has happened. I understand that, earlier this year, a new departmental head instigated a course of work, looking at X-rays. It was not something that would have immediately sprung to mind in terms of what had actually happened. It was only on having that critical research that it was identified that a number of X-rays had been unreported. Once that was revealed, further courses of work were done that identified that the number was just short of 19,500.

Clearly, a system failure took place. In this instance, I do not think that there was any deliberate attempt to mislead anyone, but it is another embarrassing issue that Belfast Trust is having to deal with. We will try to support and assist it in dealing with it, because it is important that everyone has the assurance that their X-rays have been read and that no one has suffered as a consequence. Of the first 1,800 that have been analysed, from 2011-12, it has been found that there was no adverse impact on individuals as a result. That is good news. Many of the X-rays were on parts of the body where other tests and examinations have been carried out in conjunction, so we will have to see what the outcome is. It is important that, in the next six to eight weeks, we get this work conducted as quickly as possible to enable us to move forward and give the public that assurance.