Notes sent home with discharged patient

A MAJOR investigation is today underway after a confidential document containing the personal details and conditions of people on three hospital wards was found in the belongings of a discharged patient.

A MAJOR investigation is today underway after a confidential document containing the personal details and conditions of people on three hospital wards was found in the belongings of a discharged patient.

The document contains confidential information on 16 patients on the Claydon, Debenham and Woodbridge wards at Ipswich Hospital.

It shows the full names of the patients, their date of births, and their medical diagnosis.

Ipswich Hospital confirmed that it had launched an investigation and was contacting each of the 16 patients.


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The document was found on Tuesday evening by an Ipswich resident, who does not want his full identity revealed, among his 85-year-old mother's belongings. She had returned home following a stay in the hospital.

He also says that his mother, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease, demanded to leave the hospital on Tuesday evening in her night dress after he found a note left on her bed by medical staff saying 'bed block'.

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The man, whose first name is Graham, has been left disgusted by his experience and has written to the hospital to demand answers.

The 47-year-old said: “Where things have gone wrong they should be used as a learning point to avoid this happening again in the future.”

Graham's mother was taken to the hospital by paramedics on Friday after she collapsed at her Ipswich home. She was admitted onto a ward and tests were carried out over the weekend.

On Tuesday Graham was told that his mother was fine to go home - despite concerns from the family that her pacemaker was not working properly.

But because she suffers from Alzheimer's disease, he told the hospital that she could not go home because a care package was not yet in place. A doctor told the family that it would be okay for her to stay in overnight.

However, when Graham went back to the hospital at 7pm on Tuesday he claims he found a discharge letter on his mother's bed and a note saying 'bed block'.

Jan Rowsell, Ipswich Hospital spokeswoman, said it appeared that a member of the clinical team mislaid the document.

“The hospital takes patient data confidentiality extremely seriously and we are dealing with this issue as a matter of priority,” she said. “An internal investigation into the allegations was launched immediately and, led by a senior investigating officer, is now underway. Each of the issues is being looked into in turn and in depth.”

Referring to Graham's allegation of the bed-blocking note, Ms Rowsell said: “We do not use the word 'bed block'. Every patient matters and if somebody is delayed then they are delayed for a reason. There was never an issue that this lady was a bed blocker. We will look at this very carefully but we do not recognise the practice of leaving notes like this.”

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