Beds, Herts & Bucks

Luton and Dunstable Hospital review after discharge errors

More discharge officers are due to be recruited by a Bedfordshire hospital after a report highlighted errors when sending patients home.

An audit of Luton and Dunstable hospital for the first three months of 2013 showed it sent two patients home with cannulas still fitted.

Failings also included a dementia patient being discharged without their family being notified.

The hospital said concerns were being addressed after investigations.

A spokeswoman said it was "really sorry" for the incidents, which also included a patient being discharged without a letter or medication, but there were "very few mistakes" for the number of patients they sent home.

Director of operations, Karen Ward, said the hospital discharged about 3,000 patients a month and the report showed an average of "three discharge related issues every month".

"But obviously we don't want any mistakes to happen and that is about getting procedures right and the mechanisms there to make sure that we check and double check everything," she said.

'Retrain staff'

She said she could not comment on individual cases, because of patient confidentiality, but all the incidents had been investigated to understand where things went wrong.

"We've looked at whether our checklist procedures are good enough and how we can support and retrain staff so these things don't happen again," she said.

She added it was important to have enough staff who are just focusing on discharge and who "have the time to get these things done in the right way".

"We are really keen to learn from any incidents we have and discharge procedures are something that are really quite complicated," she said.

"We are trying to look at increasing the number of discharge officers that we have."

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