"Discharge Chaos?"

About: North Tyneside General Hospital

I am writing with regard to my mother who unfortunately along with my late father were frequent flyers to this hospital. She was discharged on Monday and despite raising the fact that I would like to avoid having to spend the rest of the week sorting out her pharmaceutical needs which are not simple. Guess what? the usual pharmaceutical chaos reigns supreme. She was discharged and I was assured that the trust had relayed the discharge to my mothers GP with her change in medication and that her new drug script in a new dispenser was being delivered to my mothers home by her pharmacy. This was not the case. We were told if there was a problem with this arrangement to call the ward who would sort it out, which we did only for the ward to wash its hand of it and tell us to contact the pharmacy direct. The Pharmacy insisted it had delivered the drugs, which turns out to be a dosette with her previous medication in in a box with completely the wrong date information on the package. They are adamant that the drugs have been delivered and asked me what do you want us to do. My suggestion of making up a new pack and picking up the wrong drugs was said to be not possible. I ask the question who talks with who, if this was a one off I would put it down to bad luck but it happened every single time one of my parents have been discharged, in that I have to spend the following week sorting out her drugs, which should have been sorted and in place before anyone is discharged. I had raised this fear with the ward staff and when I could not ascertain if the drugs had been delivered I was given a large bag full of drugs and the senior nurse talked me through what drugs were given and when, which gives me some leeway in sorting out her actual dosette. This type of thing happens too frequently, and I didn't realize how frequent this was until I spoke with one of my mothers care team who said that they are always having to sort the self same issue after discharge. I think that the trust needs to learn and actually put in a seamless system which actually works. I know the PALs people will give the usual platitudes about learning from this etc but it never happens. I know that the next time my mother has a hospital stay the discharge will be the usual chaos as it has happened to us every time irrespective of the ward. This chaos is essentially caused by poor systems and extremely poor communication between The Trust/GP's and Pharmacies. I ask is it not possible in this digital world to actually communicate changes in medication to the respective medical arms and for them to act in a coordinated manner and stop passing the buck between themselves, leaving the relatives and patients to pick up the slack and get it sorted. I also know that the GP do not even know that my mother was in hospital. I will now spend two-three days trying to pin down one of the arms to get my mothers drugs before her hospital stash run out. Communication!

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Response from North Tyneside General Hospital

Dear Lecroz1,

I am so sorry that you have had further cause to question the effectiveness of our communication about medicines when your mother was transferred home recently.

You sound extremely frustrated and I can fully appreciate why this is the case. It is so disappointing to hear that you feel let down again. The service you describe is far from acceptable and something we do have to improve.

The shortfall in care certainly warrants formal investigation in my view, but unfortunately without any other details I am unable to look into this any further ? I wondered if you'd be kind enough to contact me directly - my email is annie.laverty@nhct.nhs.uk.

Apologies once again for the inconvenience and frustration caused, Annie

Annie Laverty - director of patient experience

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