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30 dermatology patient's scans lost as service transferred from Medway Maritime Hospital to DMC Healthcare

By Ed McConnell

The dermatology scans of 30 patients were lost in transit — and seven people's still can't be retrieved.

The shock revelation comes days after we revealed how one mum-of-three had waited two and a half months for results of checks on suspect moles, only to be told images couldn't be found and she'd need to go through the process again.

Now Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has admitted it was made aware of problems with the transfer of dermatology records from Medway Maritime Hospital to new provider DMC Healthcare when it took over last month.

Dermatology services were moved to DMC at the start of last month
Dermatology services were moved to DMC at the start of last month

Deputy managing director Stuart Jeffery said the issue stemmed from problems with the system used by the hospital trust.

He added: “Although a missing result is one too many, I would like to reassure the public that the issues with missing dermatology scans relates to 30 people.

"We were made aware of a problem with the teledermatology system that Medway NHS Foundation Trust uses, which meant that around 30 patients’ records and images were temporarily inaccessible. Most of these have now been retrieved and although many of those were routine appointments, the images are now being reviewed by a consultant and patients will be written to early next week.

“Seven images are yet to be retrieved. The patients concerned are currently being contacted to be booked into an urgent face-to-face appointment at a clinic with DMC Healthcare.”

Deputy managing director of the CCG Stuart Jeffery
Deputy managing director of the CCG Stuart Jeffery

The scans were routine meaning until they are checked by a consultant it won't be clear what condition they relate to.

But the hospital denies the seven records that still can't be reached have 'gone missing' saying instead they are "temporarily unavailable".

Chief operating officer at Medway NHS Foundation Trust Harvey McEnroe said: “We would like to apologise to any patient whose care has been impacted during the transfer of services to DMC.

“We remain committed to working with DMC to ensure our former patients receive the level of care they expect and deserve.

“While we acknowledge any delay a patient experiences is unacceptable, we would like to reassure patients that at no point throughout the transfer of services have any images gone missing.

“Unfortunately, a technical issue with the Telederm system beyond the trust’s control resulted in images becoming temporarily inaccessible. The majority of images have now been retrieved, but seven patient’s images remain temporarily inaccessible. These patients have now been booked in for urgent face-to-face appointments at a clinic with DMC Healthcare to avoid any further delay to their care”

Dermatology is provided by DMC for patients from Medway, Dartford, Swanley, Swale and Gravesham.

It took over the contract after waiting times at the hospital spiralled out of control but since then patients have complained of severe issues with the company's phone line, meaning they've been left on hold for hours while waiting to book appointments and order medicine.

Others have said they weren't even aware the hospital wasn't providing treatment — for conditions ranging from eczema to cancer — until calling up to chase appointments.

Last year there were 40,000 specialist dermatology appointments in north Kent.

To keep up-to-date with all the latest developments with your local hospitals and other health stories, click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Medway

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