THE Royal Blackburn Hospital has been asked to review its triage procedures following the death of a woman who was sent to the urgent care centre, rather than to A&E.
Shirley Banks, 67, who lived in Constable Avenue, Burnley had been diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus and was undergoing chemotherapy when she was taken to hospital as an emergency admission, an inquest heard.
But a spokeman for the Hospital Trust has disputed the inquest’s findings and said Mrs Banks had been taken to A&E and treated appropriately, before being sent to the intensive care unit.
The inquest at Blackburn coroner’s court heard that Mrs Banks had a 50 per cent chance of surviving the cancer, but died after developing an infection.
The hearing was told that Mrs Banks was taken to the Royal Blackburn Hospital by ambulance on New Year’s Eve last year after becoming unwell.
However rather than being taken to the emergency department she was taken to the urgent care centre, which was not adequately equipped to treat her, and Mrs Banks died the following day.
Recording a narrative verdict, Blackburn coroner Michael Singleton said that the medical cause of death was neutropenic sepsis.
Mr Singleton said he would be making a report to East Lancashire NHS Hospitals Trust relating to the triage of patients suffering from cancer.
He said: “I am required to make a report where I believe there remains a risk of further fatalities.
“Clearly those patients should be directed to A&E, not the Urgent Care Centre, where there are not protocols in place for treatment to be be provided.”
Speaking after the hearing, Mrs Banks’ sister June Rosser said: “We hope that some good comes out of this.
“We understand the failures in the system and we hope that noone else goes through what we’ve just gone through in the past six months.
Her brother-in-law John Rosser added: “Triage procedures need to be changed, there was obviously a mistake.
“She should have been sent direct for emergency treatment, as our doctor, Dr Tattersall had requested.”
But Dr Ian Stanley, Acting Medical Director at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The trust offers its sincere condolences to the family of Mrs Banks on their sad loss. However, we feel strongly that we did everything that we could possibly do for Mrs Banks and her care she received was timely and appropriate.
“Mrs Banks was admitted to the Emergency Department at the Royal Blackburn Hospital.
“She was seen by a Consultant in Emergency Medicine and treated with IV antibiotics within 34 minutes. Her case was discussed with a specialist cancer doctor in Preston and she was then admitted directly to the Intensive Care Unit where, despite all treatment delivered by our specialist team here, she did not recover and sadly died.”

After being made aware of Dr Stanley’s comments, Michael Singleton said: “I heard the evidence, made an assement based on that evidence, and reached a conclusion.”