"Problem getting my medication after discharge from Heartland Hospital"

About: Heartlands Hospital / General surgery

(as the patient),

I work in this hospital and my job involves discharging patients. But this day I was in the situation of being a patient and was discharged by my doctor who said he would prescribe my TTOs (drugs to take home). With my job I knew it would take several hours for the prescribing so I waited, then 2 hours later I asked a nurse to chase my TTOs up, only to be told I only had a discharge letter with no antibiotics or pain relief prescribed as discussed earlier with my surgeon.

I explained to the ward staff what my consultant had told me regards medications she checked my notes and confirmed that I was to have them. She was very good and offered to see it she could dispense from the ward but there was none available, so I left the ward without my medications and was told to call the ward at 12 o'clock the next day.

I telephoned the ward early because as I have said previously I have had many many problems in my job as a staff nurse, and know how the system works and what to expect.

I phoned to ensure that my TTOs were on the system and was told to call back at 12 o'clock. I called again at 12 and was told they were not ready and would I call again at 14:00. I left my telephone number and asked the ward to call me. It is now 15:30 and I still have no medications. I have now missed 2 antibiotics.

I find myself in situations regarding delayed TTOs as a staff nurse facing angry relatives and patients who have had to wait hours for their medications as in my own personal case not being prescribed in the first place. I could blame the doctor for not prescribing or the nurse for not chasing/checking that the prescription is on the system or the pharmacy department for not picking it up. Because I know how this system works should I stand back and accept this situation?

I also have people around me, to be able to arrange for my TTOs to be picked up by them. Unfortunately there are many patients who do not and they are the ones I speak up for. I cannot believe that after many years the hospital still has this problem and no one has come up with an improved system to resolve this situation. It has affected me by missing 2 doses of antibiotics. Luckily a friend of mine went to buy me some pain relief, as I have said luckily I have people I can depend on. In my job I see many who do not.

I feel frustrated and angry that we let our patients down at the final point of care. I hope this feedback does make a difference, I doubt it though. My tablets are finally ready at 16:00, I will get them at 17:00 after arranging my friend to fetch them almost 21 hours after discharge.

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Response from Simon Jarvis, Head of Patient Engagement, Heart Of England NHS Foundation Trust

picture of Simon Jarvis

I am sorry you had to wait for your medication and had to arrange for these to be collected. You are absolutely right that the final point of care (discharge) is often what patients and their relatives remember most clearly about their hospital experience and this clearly fell below what the hospital would regard as acceptable. I have passed your feedback onto the Pharmacy team and also the clincal staff to ensure, moving forward, discharge letters are as acccurate as possible and that any medication requests are actioned as quickly as possible. I trust you are on the road to recovery and thank you for taking the time to leave this feedback.

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