No Follow-up Appointments for Aintree Hospital’s Gastroenterology Patients

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Carly Saxon-Garnett

Senior Associate Medical Negligence Solicitor

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Nearly 10,000 patients weren’t given follow-up appointments at Aintree Hospital’s gastroenterology department in 2021 over the previous six years, as senior doctors blow the whistle.

Many of these cases are believed to involve people with serious illnesses, including liver problems, cancer and inflammatory bowel disease, where some date all the way back to 2015.

That means a large number of people wouldn’t have received vital checks they needed to make sure they are recovering well or to monitor their conditions to ensure they don’t get worse.

The problem was highlighted by consultants at the Royal Liverpool Hospital, who contacted the Care Quality Commission (CQC) after becoming aware of issues at Aintree, the Health Service Journal reports. In what was dubbed an ‘explosive letter’ to the CQC, The Royal Liverpool Hospital said;

"We have been advised it would be a dereliction of our duty as clinicians if we did not highlight our major concerns directly to you"

If you attended the gastroenterology unit at Aintree Hospital and have concerns about the care you received, get in touch with our Medical Negligence Solicitors for a free claims assessment.

We’d be happy to discuss your situation and to consider whether you have grounds to make a medical negligence claim. For example, we will consider any potential late diagnosis and delayed treatment of a serious illness. If mistakes have been made, we can help you to access any care, support and rehabilitation you may need.

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What Went Wrong at Aintree Hospital?

A restructuring of NHS services in Liverpool led to the creation of a new organisation called Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (LUHFT) in 2018. As part of this, the gastroenterology departments at Aintree Hospital and the Liverpool Royal were merged.

The issue with follow-up appointments was discussed by Aintree’s Board ahead of the merger, when the backlog was about 6,500. LUHFT later carried out a review and said the “cumulative effect of workforce gaps” led to a “shortfall in capacity”.

The Covid-19 pandemic also put a considerable strain on the Trust, pushing up the number of patients waiting for a follow-up to almost 10,000. According to the Health Service Journal, about 7,000 of these people have seen the target date at which they should have had a follow-up appointment pass without being seen. Meanwhile, around 2,500 patients haven’t been set a target date or haven’t had a follow-up appointment booked yet.

The letter that was penned to the CQC by the Royal Liverpool Hospital also outlines how more than 9,000 patients at Aintree have been "lost to follow up", and that there are some sufferings with “malignant potential" who have not had "any surveillance of their condition for a number of years." They also stated that they had identified three logs of serious incidents.

What is LUHFT Doing?

LUHFT has reviewed every affected case and it has been confirmed that there are new cases emerging of patients being diagnosed with advanced cancer after follow-up appointments were missed. According to the trust, there was a patient who had “abnormalities” identified in their thorax in 2015, and was told they would require further testing in three months. Unfortunately, no scan was requested, and this incident was not picked up for two years – Now, the patient has stage four lung cancer. Sadly, there has also been more findings with new diseases or advancement of diseases that have not been followed up, which have resulted in a worse condition.

In a statement, the Trust said at the time of the whistle blower news that they are “working through the findings of the review and has an action plan in place to ensure patients receive the care they need as soon as possible” – but this was whilst no known diseases were yet found.

With the new knowledge, the LUHFT have said “We have apologised to the patients and families affected by these incidents and we are thankful to those who contributed to the incident reviews we conducted at the time.”

“The Trust is committed to providing the highest standards of patient care and we take the opportunity to learn from all serious incident reviews in order to improve systems and processes for the benefit of patients.”

How Simpson Millar can help you 

If you believe you received substandard treatment from Aintree’s gastroenterology unit, including a failure to offer you a follow up appointment, you could have grounds to claim compensation, so you can access any specialist support and treatment you may need.

Our friendly, supportive team of experts can speak to you with no obligation and let you know if you have a good chance of making a successful claim.

If we can take on your case, we will instruct independent medical experts to comment on the standard of care you received and whether any delay in your follow-up treatment has caused you further harm.

We have a strong track record of helping people claim for medical errors and late diagnosis of a serious illness. At Simpson Millar, we take the view that it’s better to work with rather than against the NHS to settle claims and we are encouraged to see LUHFT are reviewing the services they offer.

Our collaborative approach makes the process less stressful and confrontational for the people we represent, but also encourages the NHS to learn lessons from what’s happened and make positive changes. Call us on 0808 239 6043 for a free claims assessment, so we can help you every step of the way.


Liverpool Echo. (2021). Doctors blow the whistle on 'thousands' of patients left in limbo at Aintree Hospital.

Care Quality Commission (CQC). (n.d.). Aintree University Hospital.

Liverpool Echo. (2021). Explosive letter from Aintree Hospital doctors warns of 'tens of thousands' of patients left waiting.

Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. (n.d.).

Health Service Journal (HSJ). (2019). Consultants blow whistle on 10,000 hidden follow-up cases amid trust merger.

Liverpool Echo. (2021). Patients diagnosed with advanced cancer after waiting years for hospital treatment.

NHS Resolution. (n.d.).

Carly Saxon-Garnett

Senior Associate Medical Negligence Solicitor

Areas of Expertise:
Medical Negligence

Carly joined Simpson Millar as a Senior Associate Solicitor in December 2019, after previously working at Slater and Gordon Lawyers.

She specialises in Medical Negligence, dealing with complex cases including brain injury, amputation, birth injury and spinal injury cases. She also runs cases dealing with delay in diagnosis of cancer, orthopaedic injuries and fatal accidents.

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