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Damning report finds unwarranted delays to treatment for some cancer patients
CANCER patients at Colchester's hospitals suffered "unwarranted delays to diagnosis and treatment", a damning review has found.
The initial review into the treatment of cancer patients led by NHS England found "serious failings in cancer services organisation, management and infrastructure".
A team of national health experts found the service provided to thousands of cancer patients could not be deemed "safe".
Investigators found unsafe information and record systems, a lack of training, low levels of staffing in major services, and a lack of confidence concerns would be listened to.
The report, published today, follows a series of visits between November 14 and December 9 to each of the 17 cancer areas.
It was launched after a Care Quality Commission report found evidence staff had been bullied into changing patient data to hit cancer targets.
The review found the following cancer pathways were not safe for patients on December 13: radiology, urology, unknown origin, skin, sarcoma and brain and central nervous systems.
Half of the cancer teams said they had problems receiving and tracking important data.
Evidence was found of faxed referrals going missing, leading to the delay of cancer treatment.
Two thirds of cancer teams reported they were overworked.
The leadership of the trust, headed until yesterday by former chief executive Dr Gordon Coutts, came in for heavy criticism after the team found there was no documented cancer strategy.
The trust also has no lead cancer nurse and a lack of clarity as to which executive board member was responsible or cancer services.
The report has set out 14 main recommendations to put services back "on a safe and sustainable" footing.
Of 910 records reviewed separately by the trust, 13 patients were "recalled" for further review or changes to their care.
Last year, 9,982 patients were referred by GPs to the hospitals trust because they were suspected of having cancer.
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