Patients have died after the government overruled multiple safety concerns raised about an IT system used to triage 16 million NHS patients a year. An HSJ investigation has uncovered at least three instances where patients triaged by the NHS Pathways software died months, sometimes years, after central agencies were alerted to safety concerns by ambulance trusts, but declined to make changes requested.
NHS Digital, the organisation that oversees NHS Pathways, told HSJ it had assessed the complaints but made changes only where “clinically necessary”. It has repeatedly asked coroners to “strike from the record” concerns raised about the safety of NHS Pathways’ advice.
Since 2015, coroners investigating 11 patient deaths have called for changes to the NHS Pathways software, used by NHS 111 and 999 services to triage patient calls, to prevent future deaths. Coroners have raised these concerns with health and social care secretary Matt Hancock, his predecessor Jeremy Hunt, NHS England, NHS Digital, the Care Quality Commission and service providers. Although NHS Pathways is run by NHS Digital, overall responsibility rests with NHS England.
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Source: HSJ, 15 July 2019