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NHS warned over writing to patients in English after child dies

Patient safety investigators have issued a warning to the NHS over writing to patients only in English after a Romanian child died following missed cancer scans.

The three-year-old, of Romanian ethnicity, had an MRI scan delayed after they were found to have eaten food beforehand.

When the appointment for the child’s MRI scan was made by the radiology booking team, a standard letter was produced by the NHS booking system in English asking the child not to eat before the scan, despite the family’s first language being Romanian. Staff at the trust had hand-written on the patient’s MRI request sheet that an interpreter was required.

“The family recognised key details in the written information, including the time, date and location of the scan,” the report said.

“However, they were not able to understand the instructions about the child not eating or drinking (fasting) for a certain amount of time before the scan.”

The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) has urged NHS England to develop and implement new rules on supplying written appointment information in languages other than English.

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Source: The Independent, 27 April 2023


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