Hospital picks up the wrong bill

A HOSPITAL in Ipswich paid for thousands of pounds of drugs, and then realised the bill was meant for another hospital with the same name in London.St Clement's Hospital in Foxhall Road, Ipswich, is today still waiting to be paid back the £7,500.

A HOSPITAL in Ipswich paid for thousands of pounds of drugs, and then realised the bill was meant for another hospital with the same name in London.

St Clement's Hospital in Foxhall Road, Ipswich, is today still waiting to be paid back the £7,500.

The mistake happened when St Clement's, which is for people with mental health problems, received an invoice back in October that was actually meant for another St Clement's Hospital in London.

The invoice was from the Prescription Pricing Authority, which reimburses pharmacies for the prescriptions they dispense.

Mark Halladay, chief executive of The Suffolk Mental Health Partnership Trust, said: "The PPA mistook us for another St Clement's. They first sent us the invoice for the other St Clement's in October. We picked it up in November.

"We are owed £7,500 and are expecting the money any time soon.

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"We are out of pocket right now, but in terms of accounting for the whole year, we are working on the basis that we will get it back. It's not a bad debt.

"I actually think we did pretty well to pick this up. It's credit to good bookkeeping in our pharmacy department.

"In a human way, it's quite reassuring that big authorities can make mistakes like this."

Mr Halladay emphasised that the mix-up has had no ill-effect on the hospital.

He said: "No patients would have noticed, nobody got the wrong drugs and nobody has not received any treatment."

John Smith, finance director for the Prescription Pricing Authority, said: "Clearly there appears to have been an error committed, which we are going to rectify in due course.

"We have got to get to the bottom of how it has happened and identify exactly the amount at stake.

"Once we have done that, we will credit Ipswich and debit the London hospital."

What do you think about his mix-up? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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