After three years backlog cleared, GPs receive letters

A BACKLOG of almost 1800 letters dating back nearly three years from a Sydney hospital’s cancer specialists to patients’ GPs has finally been cleared.

The backlog at Westmead Hospital’s Cancer Care Centre was first revealed by Medical Observer after Penrith GP Dr Adrian Sheen reported having received a letter from the hospital 108 weeks after the consultation for which he had referred his patient. 

Though the delay had not impeded the patient’s care, it arrived some 12 months after the patient had already died.

NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner, who had previously ordered the hospital to employ additional staff to help clear the backlog following the reports of significant delays, said the task of transcribing the letters – dictated by specialists at the time of the consultations – had been completed a week ahead of schedule.

“Every letter, some dictated as far back as 2008,