UPDATE: Patient samples damaged again at Royal Victoria Hospital

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PATIENT samples in the Royal Victoria Hospital have been damaged for the second time this year while being processed with equipment used to diagnose medical conditions.

The Belfast Trust confirmed that it has notified eight patients who have been affected by the incident.

The trust said that the samples were damaged on November 10 while they were being processed to determine patients' tests results.

A spokesperson for the trust said the incident was being investigated and a report would also be provided by the manufacturer of the equipment.

The trust said: “The quality of the care we provide our patients is the trust’s main concern. We take very seriously anything that might affect safety of our patients.”

The trust said it cannot discuss individual patients but said the samples included skin biopsies and organ tissues.

It is understood that the patients were told they will have to undergo repeat tests.

In March this year The Detail revealed that patients waiting for a potential diagnosis of cancer as well as other conditions would have to be called back to hospital following the failure of equipment used to examine biopsies at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

The trust said that the latest incident was unrelated as the equipment from the previous error had since been replaced.

A Serious Adverse Incident (SAI) report is currently being completed to try and determine how the latest batch of patients’ samples had been damaged.

SAIs are incidents deemed serious enough to require regional action when there is "unexpected serious risk to a service user, staff member or member of the public".

Commenting on the latest incident a spokesperson for the Belfast Trust said: “All staff involved have been working as quickly as possible to determine the impact if any on the individual patients and the root cause of the problem which will be investigated through the SAI process within the trust.”

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