Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Same name patient undergoes wrong hospital procedure

Health chiefs have apologised over a mix-up between two patients with the same name which led to the wrong person undergoing a medical procedure.

The bronchoscopy, which involves a fibre-optic camera put down the throat via the nose, was carried out at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital.

Winchester and Eastleigh NHS Trust apologised to the patient and an investigation was launched

Charity the Patients Association called the error "pure sloppiness".

The trust has since reinforced its policy of patient identification.

The patient, who underwent the procedure by mistake in May, had "recovered well" afterwards and there was no lasting damage.

Details have only emerged after the trust revealed the error in its report to the NHS board, as part of its serious untoward incidents.

A spokeswoman for the trust said it encouraged staff to report incidents and "near misses" because this would help future learning.

"In May, there was an extremely rare case of a procedure being carried out on a patient in error because they had the same name as another," she said.

"To avoid a recurrence of this, the trust has reinforced the patient identification policy of using a minimum of two patient identifiers, for example NHS number, hospital number, name, date of birth.

"The error was recognised by the consultant caring for this patient, who immediately notified and apologised to the patient and relatives."

The procedure is carried out under a local anaesthetic and is usually done as an outpatient or day case.

Katherine Murphy, director of healthcare charity the Patients Association, said: "Standard patient identification procedures should apply throughout the patient journey," she added.

"The trust's patients - especially those with widely used names - should demand that the trust's governors sort out this matter."

Results of the investigation are set to be fed back to health chiefs at the trust's patient safety and quality committee.

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