Cancer patients die waiting for hospital letters

Source: Telegraph

CANCER patients have been kept waiting so long to receive follow-up letters from their specialists that some have died before the advice arrived at their GPs.

A backlog of correspondence needing to be typed up at Westmead Hospital means about 700 people have waited up to three years for the letters to be sent.

In one case, a Sydney doctor received a letter from Westmead about a female patient with advanced skin cancer that had been dictated by a specialist on August 21, 2009, but was not typed up until September 16, 2011. By the time it reached Dr Adrian Sheen the woman had been dead for a year.

Health Minister Jillian Skinner has now ordered a full audit to find out which patients are still alive. She has forced Westmead to hire a host of administration staff starting today and given the hospital three weeks to clear the backlog.

Read More: Cancer patients die waiting for hospital letters

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