700k NHS patient notes go unprocessed in warehouse blunder: 5 things to know

A mailing incident reportedly impacted at least 1,700 patients from the U.K.'s National Health Service, according to the BBC.

Here are five things to know about the incident.

1. NHS Shared Business Services, a joint venture between the U.K. Department of Health and IT consulting company Sopra Steria, was contracted to redirect select NHS mail that had been "incorrectly addressed or needed re-routing because the patient had moved to a new GP surgery," according to the BBC.

2. A backlog of 709,000 patient notes piled up in a NHS SBS warehouse between 2011 and 2016, including cancer test results and child protection notes. NHS SBS discovered the issue in 2014, but failed to develop a plan or tell the government about the contents of the warehouse for two years, according to a National Audit Office report.

3. After reviewing roughly two-thirds of the 709,000 notes, NAO officials found 1,788 cases of potential harm to patients, due to factors like relevant clinical correspondence not reaching the appropriate practitioner. However, the number may increase as the office continues to review the notes. The NAO expects to complete its review by December 2017.

4. A Department of Health spokesperson told the BBC the department is working to ensure this issue does not happen again and said there is no evidence of harm to patients. A NHS SBS representative told the BBC the company "regret[s] this situation and [has cooperated] fully with the NAO in its investigation."

5. It will cost at least £6.6 million ($8.43 million) to address the incident, according to the NAO report.

Click here to view the full NAO report.

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