"Watford Hospital falsifying record of times that patient medication was given "

About: Watford General Hospital / General medicine

(as a relative),

My mother in law awoke in the night (5am) and realised that she hadn't been given her latest dose of medication that was supposed to be given at 2am. She got out of bed and went to the nurses station where she was told that when the nurse came round at 2am my mother in law was asleep and so she decided not to wake her up to give her her medication! A nurse then gave her her medicine at 5. 30 am. We were visiting the next day in the evening and at 7. 15 pm a nurse came and gave my mother in law her medication. When the nurse left my mother in law commented that this presumably was her 6pm dose. (My mother in law had had a serious operation and the previous hospital had made it very clear that it was vital that this medicine was given every 4 hours. ) I went to the nurses desk and asked to see my mother in laws medication chart. The chart was just being completed by the nurse who had given the medicine at 7. 15 pm and she had completed it saying that she had given it at 6 pm! This was clearly false as we had been at the bedside when it was given and my mother in law had commented on the time. The record for the previous night was also totally inaccurate saying that my mother in law had received her medication at 2 am, 6 am, 10 am, 2 pm etc. I asked if we could speak to the doctor in charge. The doctor came to see us at my mother in law's bedside and we explained what had happened. I asked if he could make a note on my mother in laws record of the times that the medication had actually been administered so that if my mother in law had a bad turn anyone looking at her record would see that she hadn't been given her medicine at the correct time. The doctor said he would do so and that he would ensure that she was given further dosages every 4 hours as required. We left my mother in law with an alarm clock that she set for every 4 hours to ensure that she received her medication at the correct times going forwards. I also phoned the desk in the ward at just after 11. 15 pm that night to check that my mother in law received medicines at the correct time (which she had).

As an aside when my mother in law was discharged from Watford a few days later we found that Watford Hospital had done NONE of the tests that the transferring hospital had requested that they carry out. We subsequently arranged these as out patient appointments at a local hospital and fortunately my mother in law has made a good recovery.

Would I recommend Watford General Hospital to anyone? NO

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Response from Antony Tiernan, Director of Corporate Affairs and Communications, Communications and corporate affairs, West Herfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust

picture of Antony Tiernan

Thank you for taking the time to let us have feedback about the care your mother-in-law received at Watford Hospital.

I am sorry to hear your mother-in-law was unwell and that she needed to be admitted to hospital.

I am of course very concerned to hear of the concerns you have raised and I would agree fully that the information recorded in a patient's record must reflect exactly what has happened, for instance the time medication was given.

I am also concerned to hear that your mother-in-law was not given the tests you expected.

The concerns you have raised are extremely important and I would ask you to contact our patient advice and liaison service (PALS) so that they look into them for me. They will also be able to give you feedback.

The PALS team can be contacted via email pals@whht.nhs.uk or you can call 01923 217 198.

Thank you again for taking the time to let us have feedback and I would like to apologise to you and your mother-in-law for any distress this matter has caused.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need to. My email is antony.tiernan@whht.nhs.uk or you can call 01923 436 229. Alternatively, you can tweet me: @AntonyTiernan.

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Update posted by Disappointed Relative (a relative)

My mother was in the Stroke Ward at Watford General Hospital.

We reported the incident to the doctor on duty at 7.30pm (as described in the story above). The hospital therefore should already know about the incident.

My mother in law was being given the drug Nimodipine. The link to the medical website below tells you that if a dose is missed, you do not try to catch up with doses. Needless to say, the nurses caught up with my mother in laws Nimodipine dosages.


The fact that at least 2 different nurses had deliberately entered false times that medication was given on my mother in laws notes would indicate that this is not a one-off incident and may be standard practice on this ward.

At the time we decided not to take any further as ultimately my mother in law was in the care of the hospital and nurses on that ward.

This isn't about communication this is about care and honesty about what is going on in hospitals. I have therefore decided to post my response to your "standard response" on this forum.

Updates, changes and questions related to this story