Late diagnoses may have caused U.K. oral cancer deaths

Late diagnoses and referrals could have resulted in the deaths of several oral cancer patients at a dental hospital in Belfast, U.K., according to a story in the Belfast Telegraph.

A report found the Belfast Health Trust guilty of "serious deficiencies" after 15 oral cancer patients at the Royal Dental Hospital received late diagnoses and referrals.

Health Minister Edwin Poots said that four of the 15 could have died as a consequence.

Poots also disclosed that five senior directors of the trust received pay increases of between 5% and 10%, which cannot now be legally retrieved, involving a total of 26,000 pounds ($41,793 U.S).

Also, government officials were told there may be "potentially material shortcomings" over the procurement of a security services contract at the Belvoir Park Hospital site in south Belfast.

The problems were attributed to excessive workloads, exacerbated by the lack of an adequate secretarial and administrative support system.

In February, it was revealed that two years ago the trust launched a major review of 3,000 clinical records belonging to dentistry patients in Northern Ireland.

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