Belfast Telegraph

Doctor in Royal Victoria Hospital patient recall probe stood down

BY ANNA MAGUIRE

A doctor at the centre of a recall of more than 100 patients has been advised to stop practising temporarily.

A total of 105 patients have been contacted after concerns were raised about their care at the Royal Victoria Hospital’s accident and emergency department.

A consultant voiced his worries about the possible oversight of a fracture in a patient’s X-ray on Friday.

Notes of all patients examined by the doctor were then reviewed — leading to yesterday’s recall.

Dr Ken Fullerton, the Belfast Trust’s associate medical director who heads the emergency department, said none of the cases involved suspected cancer or possible terminal conditions.

The hospital had received no complaints linked to the recall yesterday morning.

Dr Fullerton said the matter has been referred to the General Medical Council.

He added: “The doctor is not practising at the moment because we have advised him not to until this process is completed.

“The patients were recalled after a consultant flagged an issue with a patient’s care on Friday.

“It started with a concern about a single patient — that the doctor may have missed a fracture with an X-ray. That was picked up by a consultant before the patient left the department.

“The consultant had some concerns that there was a danger that patients may have come to some harm.”

Concerns also surround the doctor’s recording of tests and follow-up appointments, Dr Fullerton added.

Four clinics have been set up for affected patients to see consultants and these are expected to last until the end of the week.

Dr Fullerton said: “In some cases the patient may need to have further tests, like blood tests or X-rays.

“A significant number of these patients are people who have had relatively minor injuries. There’s no clear theme in any of these cases.”

Background

The College of Emergency Medicine carried out an external review of the department several months ago.

Concerns have been raised in the review, due to be published next month, around patient safety and staffing levels, according to reports.

However, Belfast Trust health chiefs have stressed that staffing levels played no role in this current patient recall.

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