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Radiology Recall: 13,000 Patient Images

The Northern Trust has announced it is to review more than 13,000 radiology images of patients following concerns over the work of a locum consultant radiologist, engaged by the trust between Jul 2019 and Feb 2020. The images being examined include 1,100 CT scans, 300 MRI reports, more than 11,000 x-rays and 330 ultrasound reports.

This is the latest in a series of reviews being carried out across the health service in Northern Ireland.

Dr Seamus O’Reilly, Medical Director at the Northern Trust told the BBC’s Good Morning Ulster programme that the General Medical Council raised concerns about the radiologist’s work during a meeting. The trust said less than 7% of the patients may have received a delayed diagnosis as a result of “unsatisfactory image reporting”.

Concern over work of Consultant Radiologist

Health Minister, Robin Swann told the Northern Ireland Assembly that the review would be comprehensive;
“I want to assure members of the public that correct and appropriate steps are being taken by the trust to quickly and thoroughly identify any potential for harm to these patients and to take any follow-up action as may be necessary.”

Each year the trust report on over 300,000 radiology images, this review concerns 13,030 images which were reported on by this particular radiologist during the eight month period.

All of the images were taken in; Antrim Area Hospital, Causeway Hospital, Whiteabbey Hospital, Mid Ulster Hospital and the Ballymena Health and Care Centre.

Dr O’Reilly; “We have written to 9,091 patients or the parents/guardians, where appropriate, to make them aware of the review. We appreciate that this will be a worrying and anxious time for those who do receive a letter. I would stress that all of the images relating to the 9,091 patients will be reviewed, but based on our initial audit, we estimate that less than 7% may have experienced a delay in diagnosis as a result of unsatisfactory image reporting. That does not mean that they will all have come to harm as a result but we will be making a further clinical assessment in each of those cases. Patients who receive the letter do not need to take any action. We plan to run the review and recall stages of this process in tandem.

Worrying and anxious time

Every patient will be contacted again as soon as the outcome is known in relation to their images and for those who may require further imaging or a follow-up appointment. The review commenced the week beginning June 21 and it is expected to complete by the end of Oct 2021. 


Support for any patients with concerns: Freephone: 0800 023 4377  | E-mail: 

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