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Wednesday, 01 October 2014

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Tests clear Carlisle hospital endoscopy patients

All but 35 of the 357 patients recalled over problems with endoscopies at Carlisle’s hospital have now been in touch to arrange further tests.

Cumberland Infirmary photo
The Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle

And to date, all of the follow-up blood tests have come back negative – meaning nobody contracted an infection as a result of the issues.

Cumberland Infirmary bosses sent out letters at the beginning of August after it emerged equipment used to carry out the tests may not have been cleaned correctly.

Those affected – who had endoscopies between May 20 and June 19 – were recalled for blood tests to check for potential infections.

Hospital bosses stressed that the equipment had been cleaned both by hand and machine, however it had later emerged that the wrong levels of disinfectant were being used. They said the risk of infection was very small and patients were being recalled purely as a precaution.

A helpline was set up so that patients among the 357 could speak to staff about their concerns and arrange follow-up tests.

In the first week they had 190 responses, although the helpline was to remain open until the end of August as some patients may have been away on holiday and not received their letter until later.

A spokeswoman for North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust confirmed: “We have now been in touch with almost all patients affected by this precautionary recall and, as expected, all blood test results to date have come back as negative.

“We take our duty of care extremely seriously and would like to thank patients for their understanding and also our team of staff who have worked hard to make the process as swift and seamless as possible.”

Experts from Public Health England have been overseeing the investigation into the problems and the hospital’s response. They say they are happy the issues have now been fully rectified and there is no need for anyone having an endoscopy at the city infirmary to be concerned.

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