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Swipe card confusion sparks concerns among paramedics trying to access A&E at Ipswich Hospital

PUBLISHED: 16:09 02 February 2017 | UPDATED: 16:23 02 February 2017

The Garrett Anderson Centre at Ipswich Hospital. Image: Alex Fairfull

The Garrett Anderson Centre at Ipswich Hospital. Image: Alex Fairfull

Ipswich Hospital has apologised for "human error" after 20 people - mostly paramedics - were left without swipe cards to get into the A&E department, sparking handover delays.

Workers, who wanted to be kept anonymous, raised concerns this week after claiming to have been left outside the barriers while they had patients on trolleys.

They also claimed they had to wait to be buzzed in to the clinical areas of the department – and said the hospital had introduced a new charge for the swipe cards.

Representatives for the trust said that the issues raised by workers were caused by human error.

They confirmed that there was a period of time where paramedics were asked to pay for their cards – but no-one was charged because nobody came forward for a new one.

The scheme was proposed by a hospital worker, a spokeswoman said, and was then put forward as a proposal to the ambulance service.

“Somebody in the hospital decided there was going to be a charge for the cards and this was then suggested to paramedics,” said hospital spokeswoman Hazel Byford.

“No-one was ever charged because they did not come forward for a new card during this period.”

The ambulance service is now working with the hospital to ensure all members of staff have access to the site.

Hollie Cowan, a spokeswoman for the service, said: “We are working with the hospital to ensure all members of staff have access to the site. Crews can gain access via an intercom.”

The idea has since been dropped and the delays and confusion sparked as a result have been pinned on human error and miscommunication.

“It is all sorted now,” said hospital spokeswoman Jan Ingle. “What had happened was due to human error, a bit of a mistake was made,” she said.

“We have been giving these cards to paramedics since the Garrett Anderson centre opened in 2008. There is a supply of cards for paramedics and this card gives them access to a clinical area which helps to keep people out who shouldn’t be there.”

She added: “We need to apologise, this was a misunderstanding caused by human error.”

The 20 people affected have since been issued with new cards free of charge.

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