"Appendectomy Day Case"

About: Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Greater London)

Generally there was nothing about the service that was bad, from admission to discharge- all very slow, but purely down to the chronic understaffing throughout the NHS. The procedure was well explained to me and went very well, the after care was good although these days it's vital for the patient to take much of the responsibility for their treatment and needs. Sadly, all went wrong at discharge when the pharmacy lost my prescription. This took hours to be discovered as the Pharmacy are so notorious for being slow that it wasn't even queried until after they'd shut. This department needs a huge overhaul as beds are being blocked daily by patients who have been discharged but wait literally all day to get their meds (previous visit- discharged 8.30 am, got meds 3.30pm!).

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Response from Rachel Sugarman, Patient Experience Manager, Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust

Dear Patient

Please accept our sincere apologies for the delay that you experienced whilst waiting to receive your prescription medication during your recent procedure carried out at the day care unit at QEH. To investigate your complaint I have checked the pharmacy records for the month of July and spoken to the staff who work in the dispensary. The staff in the dispensary staff could not recall an incident involving a day care prescription being lost in July. Unfortunately I have been unable to identify the specific details relating to your prescription in this case. If you want me to investigate further then please contact the department directly on the number below, if we have your name and date of birth we can carry out a review of when your prescription was written and to whom it was given.

What I would like to say is that the dispensary at QEH supplies over 16,000 items every month to patients from various outpatient clinics and from over 20 wards and departments. We have very few errors, those that we do have we investigate carefully and make every effort to amend process and procedures to prevent a recurrence. Errors are recorded in a Trust clinical incident database and we have to record the actions that we have taken in response to all incidents that are reported. We also review all of the errors that we make to look for trends; taking various actions such as staff training, raising awareness and amending work processes.

We record all of our work using a prescription tracking system, which we use to report on our performance. The pharmacy department has a target time of 2 hours for discharge prescriptions, for July 2016 we achieved an average time of 50 minutes for the day care unit. We supplied medication for 92 discharge prescriptions for day care, 3 of those were over 2 hours in duration, the latest that a prescription was completed was at 17:31 hours.

I would like to once again apologise for the inconvenience caused, if you want to contact us directly to discuss this or anything else then please phone the dispensary manager’s office at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on 020 8836 4904.

Thank you

Steve Williams

Operations and IT Manager, Pharmacy

Covering both hospital sites, UHL & QEH

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