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September 22, 2010

How many PCT Chief Execs. does it take to answer a few simple questions?
Filed under: FOI Balls — Dr. Phil @ 9:32 pm

Three apparently.

On 30th August 2010, the following FOI request was made via the website

Dear North Somerset Primary Care Trust (PCT),

Please answer the following questions:

1. When was your Chief Executive, Mr Chris Born, first made aware of serious allegations of histopathology misdiagnosis made against University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust (UHB)?
2. By what means was Mr Born first made aware of the allegations?
3. When did Mr Born inform his Board about the allegations?
4. When Mr Born found out about the allegations, what actions did he take to protect the safety of the patients on whose behalf his PCT commissions services from UHB.
5. There have been at least three further allegations of misdiagnosis raised since the UHB commissioned inquiry started.
6. When and by what means was Mr Born made aware of them?
7. What action has Mr Born taken to protect the safety of patients on whose behalf his PCT commissions services from UHB, given the the ongoing issue of lack of implementation of common standards of
quality and safety in labs in the locality that has led to the recent allegations.

The existence of the UHB commissioned histopathology inquiry will not be accepted as a reason to claim exemption under FOIA as the actions of NHS North Somerset are not within the published terms of
reference of the Inquiry.

Yours faithfully,

Mrs D Havercroft

The same request was made of NHS South Gloucestershire, whose Chief Executive is Mrs Penny Harris.

On 20th September, it seems that Chris Born had a stab at this response, which somehow found its way onto the internet, even though it’s obviously work in progress:

Sent: 20 September 2010 10:32
To: [FOI #45966 email]
Subject: FW: Freedom of Information request – Bristol Histopathology –
allegations of misdiagnosis 2010-228

Thank you for your email of 30^th August 2010 regarding a freedom of
information request on Bristol Histopathology.

Please find below my response to your questions:

1. 14^th June 2009

2. Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire PCT Chief
Executive’s meeting

3. Awaiting results of investigation

4. Agreed that NHS Bristol would continue as lead commissioner to assure patients were protected.

6. Specific clinical incidents are dealt with through a trust’s normal incident procedure and are normally not reported to PCT Chief Executives.

7. Included requirements for quality and safety in contracts for
services from acute trusts. This includes………………….

Many thanks

Chris Born

Chief Executive
NHS North Somerset
Tel: 01275 546681
Fax: 01275 546767

`Making it right for you’


On 22nd September, Deborah Evans, Chief Executive of NHS Bristol commented on Chris Born’s draft. This found its way onto the internet as well:

Evans Deborah

22 September 2010

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Dear Chris and Penny,

Our advice would be to stick with the answers to 1 and 2 as you have
written them.

Question 6 I would just leave it at the words “specific clinical incidents are dealt with through a Trusts normal incident procedure.”

Question 7 I would say “we do not accept the premise on which this statement it based” – otherwise you are accepting the generality that there is a lack of implementation of common standards etc and this could
be twisted in a subsequent request or statement.

I hope this is helpful
Mrs Havercroft finds it very helpful indeed.