Hospital ordered to clear backlog after follow-up letter took 756 days

THE NSW government has ordered one of the state’s biggest hospitals to clear a backlog of follow-up letters to GPs after Medical Observer revealed delays of more than two years for some correspondences, during which at least one patient died.

After MO first reported that Sydney GP Dr Adrian Sheen had waited 756 days for a letter from Westmead’s Cancer Clinic – during which time the patient died – it emerged the delays were affecting letters concerning about 700 patients.

NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner immediately ordered a review into whether the paperwork bungle had affected letters to GPs from other hospitals and ordered Westmead to hire extra staff to clear the stockpile.

“As soon as this issue… was brought to my attention by the Medical Observer, I acted to ensure the problem was dealt with immediately,” Ms Skinner said.

“It is unacceptable that 700 letters were