""Losing a patient""

About: University Hospital Lewisham

I recently went to Lewisham Hospital to visit a friend who I was told was in Cedar Ward. I asked two nurses of her whereabouts - one had not heard of her and the other said "she was here on Wednesday but I've been off since then". and "perhaps she's been discharged or moved". A phone call was made, during which I was asked the patient's date of birth (which I didn't know) and, later, her address which I knew apart from the door number. Eventually I was told she had been moved to Juniper Ward. My question is: how can a ward "lose" a patient? Surely either a written or an electronic record is kept of patients arriving, moving or being discharged?

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Response from University Hospital Lewisham

Our Matron Ann-Marie Coiley has investigated your concerns and was disappointed to learn that you had difficulty locating your friend who had been on Cedar Ward at University Hospital Lewisham. There is a robust system on the ward for the nurses to follow if a patient is admitted, transferred or discharged which will enable them to locate a patient. The patient details are entered into a diary which is kept with the ward clerk and is accessible 24 hours per day. The details from this diary are also entered onto the electronic patient administration system however, not all nurses have access to this. The nurses are also able to call the bed bureau who can help to locate a patient. Matron Coiley is sorry that the nurses did not follow this process to locate your friend, and that you were, understandably, left feeling that the ward had ‘lost’ your friend. She has spoken to the ward involved and have asked them to disseminate the information about how to locate a patient who has moved again, to serve as reminder and also asked them to think about how their actions might be perceived by a visiting member of the public. Matron Coiley hopes that this has reassured you that there is a process in place and if you would like to discuss this further with her, please contact her using the contact details below: Ann-Marie Coiley 020 8333 3000 Bleep 2910 annmarie.coiley@nhs.net

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