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Monday, 11 February, 2002, 16:51 GMT
Barnet and Chase Farm NHS Trust
Barnet and Chase Farm NHS Trust
The trust has suffered a series of high profile setbacks
Barnet and Chase Farm NHS Trust was in the news as recently as last week when its chief executive resigned.

Liz Heyer stood down after independent investigators found thousands of scans had been ordered but not carried out, which could have affected the treatment of cancer patients.

The ultrasound scan request forms were found by the Commission for Health Improvement (CHI) during a routine inspection of Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals Trust.


Barnet is developing new sites and Chase Farm needs to continue the good work it has been doing

Sue Cripps, Chase Farm CHC
Last September, it was one of a dozen trusts which got a zero star rating for failing to meet government standards.

In particular, it missed targets to ensure that no patient waited longer than two weeks to see a breast cancer specialist after being referred by their GP.

CHI inspectors found 2,700 unprocessed requests for ultrasound scans.

It follows a separate incident in 2000 where 800 unprocessed requests were found at the trust.

Most of the affected patients have now had their ultrasounds - the rest either have been given an appointment, or will be offered one to have a scan before the end of this month.

New appointment

The ultrasound requests are not related to maternity care, but to diagnose illnesses in patients.

They came from GPs or hospital consultants concerned that patients might have serious illnesses such as cancer, or gallstones.

CHI, which was due to complete its routine inspection of Barnet and Chase Farm in March, has now launched a separate investigation into the scandal.

This will be completed in the summer.

In a statement, the trust said it supported any initiative which drives up standards in hospitals and welcomes the franchise announcement made by the government.

As an interim measure Paul O'Connor, formerly Director of Operations at King's College Hospital NHS Trust, has been appointed as acting chief executive.

Chairman of Barnet and Chase Farm NHS Trust Peter Brokenshire said: "We are pleased that Paul has been appointed as the trust's acting chief executive.

"The trust has many challenges to face in the coming months but also much to look forward to with the opening of a new hospital wing at Barnet and plans to redevelop the Chase Farm site."

Mr O'Connor said: "I look forward to the new challenge of working at Barnet and Chase Farm and hope to ensure the local people continue to get the good service which they have grown accustomed too."

Investigation

Sue Cripps from the Chase Farm Community Health Council says it is too early to say whether new managers will make significant changes.

She said: "Barnet is developing new sites and Chase Farm needs to continue the good work it has been doing and there are some good managers here.

"But I think they need some time and also need not to have so many NHS targets the government is imposing at the moment."

The trust serves a population of some 500,000 people in north London.

It comprises two hospitals - Barnet and Chase Farm - which operated as separate trusts until their merger in April 1999.

The hospitals provide inpatient and outpatient care and specialist services, including The Audiology Centre, Fracture Clinic and the Maxillofacial Unit, which deals with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting the mouth, jaws, face and neck.

There are several specialist nurses such as urology nurse practitioners and the wards have access to the specialist cancer support team of breast care nurses.

See also:

20 Jan 01 | Health
Hospital babies tested for TB
25 Sep 01 | NHS Performance 2001
'No surprises' among bad hospitals
11 Feb 02 | Health
Analysis: Franchising hospitals
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