Newcastle Hospitals said on Tuesday that they are reviewing 24,000 documents from their electronic records after a Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection in the summer identified a number of patient letters that may never have been sent.

In a press release posted on their website, the trust said that following correspondence from the Care Quality Commission, the trust identified a number of documents in its electronic patient record (EPR) which may not have been sent to GPs.

A BBC report said staff at the trust raised concerns about delays in sending out correspondence to the CQC during its visit in the summer. It said problems occurred when letters requiring sign-off from a senior doctor were placed into a folder few staff knew existed.

It quoted a source at the hospital, who said consultants had raised issues about the EPR for years, complaining it was slow and hard to use, but had not been listened to

The trust statement said the documents included discharge summaries and clinic letters, as well as internal documents from the last five years, indicating that tests and results dating back as far as 2018 might have never reached patients.

“We have thoroughly investigated these matters and would like to reassure our patients that we are taking immediate steps to address the issue. We sincerely apologise for any anxiety or inconvenience this may cause.

“Every single patient contact is very important to us and we are working to understand if there has been any impact to ongoing care and treatment.”

The trust added that it was reviewing “both correspondence and internal documents” accounting for less than 0.3% of all of its patient contacts.

“This review is already underway and will be completed as quickly as possible over the next two months” the statement said. “If any concerns are identified, we will inform patients and their GPs directly. We are taking this issue very seriously and are working quickly to put things right.”