"Wrong next of kin contact details"

About: Darlington Memorial Hospital / Accident and emergency Darlington Memorial Hospital / Respiratory medicine

(as a relative),

My 88 year old mother in law was admitted into DMH A&E recently due to breathing difficulties; she was subsequently moved to the Acute Respiratory ward before finally being transferred to Ward 44. All in all she was an in-patient for two days.

The treatment she received was great and I cannot give enough praise for her clinical care.

On Thursday morning my husband visited his mother and he was advised by nursing staff that she would be coming home that afternoon, and someone from the ward would call to let him know when she was ready.

We hadn't heard anything up until 5pm so my husband gave the ward a call. He was told that she was ready to go, but waiting for medication to be prepared - they would call us. By the time 6. 30pm came we decided to go to the hospital ourselves thinking that surely everything must be ready by now.

There was a nurse with my mother in law when we arrived, who immediately told my husband that they had been ringing us on and off during the afternoon and that no-one had answered. I assured her that during the time we were out briefly the answerphone was turned on, and no messages had been left. The nurse was quite certain that they had been trying. My husband told the nurse that he'd called the ward at 5pm and been told that meds were being prepared, to which the nurse present told us they couldn't understand that as there were no meds to go with her, only those she'd brought in. At that point the nurse checked the telephone number they had listed as next of kin, to find that they had been calling my mother in law's own number! I cannot tell you how apologetic the nurse was as this is clearly a basic administration error. Her own telephone number had actually been written into the space where our contact details should have been. The fact that we had to wait all afternoon for a call is not the issue; our true concern is that if anything had happened to my mother in law how would anyone have contacted us?

On admission into A&E my husband gave all his contact details to them - landline and mobile number. Why was this not transferred to each ward along with my mother in law? I'd be interested to know exactly where the process failed and what's going to be done to avoid this happening to anyone else? It's bad enough that patient information isn't transferred between IT systems in surgeries and hospitals, but to get it wrong in the same location is beyond belief.

More about:
Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››


Response from Darlington Memorial Hospital

Thank you for providing feedback on your mother in law's recent admission to Darlington Memorial Hospital and in particular Ward 44.

I am very sorry to hear that you were unhappy with your experience regarding communication on this occasion and we will make sure your feedback is passed to the Matron and Ward Manager.

We would welcome the opportunity to discuss your concerns with you and if you would like to contact us with your name and some more details of your mother in law it would enable the Matron/Manager to look into your concerns for you.

If you feel this would be useful please contact the Trust’s Patient Experience Team on 0800 7835774.

If you would prefer to contact us by e-mail, our address is patient.experience@cddft.nhs.uk

If you do decide to contact us, please make us aware that you have left comments on the NHS Choices website.

The Trust is grateful for all feedback, positive or negative, as it means we can better understand what is important to our patients.

Thank you for leaving your comments on NHS Choices.

Patient Experience Team

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust

Tel: 0800 7835774

  • {{helpful}} of {{total()}} people think this response is helpful