Princess Alexandra Hospital's service criticised after Epping patient's medication mixed up

First published in Epping Forest
Last updated
East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Sub Editor

A cataract sufferer has slammed a hospital’s lack of storage for patients after finding another man’s medication mixed up with his own.

Roy Smith, 84, of Woodberry Down in Epping, was admitted to Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow earlier this month after suffering complications following an operation on his eye.

While there, he said staff lost his £40 dressing gown and he was not given anywhere to store his medication, despite asking for a locker.

He said: “There were no facilities for storing anything.

“All my prescriptions were put in a bag on the back of a trolley and others were left on the side, which I thought was very bad.

“The doctor did ring to try and get me a locker, so the prescriptions could be put away, but no way – nothing arrived at all.

“When my wife unpacked my drugs at home, she found there was one for a Mr Rogers, which was nothing to do with me. It was for an injection.

“I was so dissatisfied with the whole lot.”

He added that the hospital had been responsible for losing his dressing gown, but staff had pointed to signs telling patients they were not liable for personal belongings.

He added: “They didn’t want to put a blanket on me and slung my dressing gown over me, then they lost it for me.

“They have signs all over the place saying they’re not responsible for anything.”

A spokesman for the hospital said: “We are sorry Mr Smith’s dressing gown went missing and that there wasn’t an appropriate locker for his medicines. 

“Making sure medications are stored and administered appropriately is one of our priorities.

“Safety is important to us. We have 24 hour security and also a Police Community Support Officer on site which helps ensure incidents are rare.

“The hospital patient engagement team got in touch with Mr Smith soon after he left hospital regarding the loss of his gown.  No other issues were highlighted to them at the time.”

Comments (5)

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11:57pm Mon 28 Jan 13

Thunderbird4 says...

At the same hospital, I found a friends drip medication had another patients name on it. This was very worrying. I checked the medical record and fortunately it was the same medication and dose rate. The senior nurse asked me not to say anything as no harm had been done. This is just a case of - I can't be bothered to to do the job properly and re-label the medication.

At this hospital, two people had personal belongings stolen. At Queens, Romford, I took a friend a phone charger, it was never seen again and he had to buy a new one. Myself, at Whipps, have had personal property stolen. I wrote to the health minister and got the standard letter of apology.

Theft in hospitals from patients who are sleeping, is endemic. There is a small number of staff who behave as criminals and look upon sleeping patients as cash cows; it's a disgraceful state of affairs. The hospital authorities know it goes on but allow it to continue. Safe in our hands.
At the same hospital, I found a friends drip medication had another patients name on it. This was very worrying. I checked the medical record and fortunately it was the same medication and dose rate. The senior nurse asked me not to say anything as no harm had been done. This is just a case of - I can't be bothered to to do the job properly and re-label the medication. At this hospital, two people had personal belongings stolen. At Queens, Romford, I took a friend a phone charger, it was never seen again and he had to buy a new one. Myself, at Whipps, have had personal property stolen. I wrote to the health minister and got the standard letter of apology. Theft in hospitals from patients who are sleeping, is endemic. There is a small number of staff who behave as criminals and look upon sleeping patients as cash cows; it's a disgraceful state of affairs. The hospital authorities know it goes on but allow it to continue. Safe in our hands. Thunderbird4
  • Score: 0

12:39pm Tue 29 Jan 13

Cornbeefur says...

Thunderbird4 wrote:
At the same hospital, I found a friends drip medication had another patients name on it. This was very worrying. I checked the medical record and fortunately it was the same medication and dose rate. The senior nurse asked me not to say anything as no harm had been done. This is just a case of - I can't be bothered to to do the job properly and re-label the medication.

At this hospital, two people had personal belongings stolen. At Queens, Romford, I took a friend a phone charger, it was never seen again and he had to buy a new one. Myself, at Whipps, have had personal property stolen. I wrote to the health minister and got the standard letter of apology.

Theft in hospitals from patients who are sleeping, is endemic. There is a small number of staff who behave as criminals and look upon sleeping patients as cash cows; it's a disgraceful state of affairs. The hospital authorities know it goes on but allow it to continue. Safe in our hands.
You seem to be a hospital tourist.
[quote][p][bold]Thunderbird4[/bold] wrote: At the same hospital, I found a friends drip medication had another patients name on it. This was very worrying. I checked the medical record and fortunately it was the same medication and dose rate. The senior nurse asked me not to say anything as no harm had been done. This is just a case of - I can't be bothered to to do the job properly and re-label the medication. At this hospital, two people had personal belongings stolen. At Queens, Romford, I took a friend a phone charger, it was never seen again and he had to buy a new one. Myself, at Whipps, have had personal property stolen. I wrote to the health minister and got the standard letter of apology. Theft in hospitals from patients who are sleeping, is endemic. There is a small number of staff who behave as criminals and look upon sleeping patients as cash cows; it's a disgraceful state of affairs. The hospital authorities know it goes on but allow it to continue. Safe in our hands.[/p][/quote]You seem to be a hospital tourist. Cornbeefur
  • Score: 0

2:08pm Tue 29 Jan 13

Helen, Walthamstow says...

Rude and unnecessary, cornbeefur!

So no change there.
Rude and unnecessary, cornbeefur! So no change there. Helen, Walthamstow
  • Score: 0

7:11pm Tue 29 Jan 13

Thunderbird4 says...

I've started, so I'll finish.

The incidents I quoted previously, happened over a three year period.

I'm not a doctor, so I can't comment on the doctor's medical expertise, but I did find the bona fide doctors seem good at their job, taking their time explaining what will be done. Other staff, generally, do not come up to scratch. These people are either not too sure what to do or they just want to go home, because all it is, is just a job to them; but there are also good ones who are vocational, these are run off their feet because the others can't be bothered.

Some staff come from agency's and they seem to have little common sense. I needed a canulla removed, the NHS agency girl wanted to flush it through first - why? You just pull them out. Someone must have told her to do it.

I saw a nurse take a patients pulse with her thumb on the veins.

I saw a young tealady, putting her fingers into cups to pick them up: this is how bacteria is spread; surely she would have had some training in simple hygiene?

My medical record showed I had been given drugs, on the hour, while asleep; I never had any drugs and I pointed this out to staff. If I had become ill and needed surgery, a doctor might have denied me a lifesaving operation because I had apparently taken drugs that would have interfered with the operation.

All these incidents and a few more were in the letter sent to the health minister, but nothing will change.

I suspect a lot of early and unnecessary deaths have occurred in hospitals, simply because some Prime Minister had been sold the stupid idea of putting in Managers, rather than doctors. Managers save money, but not lives: Safe in our hands?
I've started, so I'll finish. The incidents I quoted previously, happened over a three year period. I'm not a doctor, so I can't comment on the doctor's medical expertise, but I did find the bona fide doctors seem good at their job, taking their time explaining what will be done. Other staff, generally, do not come up to scratch. These people are either not too sure what to do or they just want to go home, because all it is, is just a job to them; but there are also good ones who are vocational, these are run off their feet because the others can't be bothered. Some staff come from agency's and they seem to have little common sense. I needed a canulla removed, the NHS agency girl wanted to flush it through first - why? You just pull them out. Someone must have told her to do it. I saw a nurse take a patients pulse with her thumb on the veins. I saw a young tealady, putting her fingers into cups to pick them up: this is how bacteria is spread; surely she would have had some training in simple hygiene? My medical record showed I had been given drugs, on the hour, while asleep; I never had any drugs and I pointed this out to staff. If I had become ill and needed surgery, a doctor might have denied me a lifesaving operation because I had apparently taken drugs that would have interfered with the operation. All these incidents and a few more were in the letter sent to the health minister, but nothing will change. I suspect a lot of early and unnecessary deaths have occurred in hospitals, simply because some Prime Minister had been sold the stupid idea of putting in Managers, rather than doctors. Managers save money, but not lives: Safe in our hands? Thunderbird4
  • Score: 0

5:26pm Mon 18 Feb 13

nhs_shahid says...

Thunderbird4 wrote:
At the same hospital, I found a friends drip medication had another patients name on it. This was very worrying. I checked the medical record and fortunately it was the same medication and dose rate. The senior nurse asked me not to say anything as no harm had been done. This is just a case of - I can't be bothered to to do the job properly and re-label the medication.

At this hospital, two people had personal belongings stolen. At Queens, Romford, I took a friend a phone charger, it was never seen again and he had to buy a new one. Myself, at Whipps, have had personal property stolen. I wrote to the health minister and got the standard letter of apology.

Theft in hospitals from patients who are sleeping, is endemic. There is a small number of staff who behave as criminals and look upon sleeping patients as cash cows; it's a disgraceful state of affairs. The hospital authorities know it goes on but allow it to continue. Safe in our hands.
Dear Thunderbird4,

We are in the process of resolving Mr Smith's concerns.

I wonder if you would be able to help the local NHS by getting in touch with the team here to give us the details of the concerns you have raised in your comment. I ask this here as there is no other way to contact you as there is no email address or telephone number in the comment.

Please simply get in touch on 01279 82 70 84 so we can investigate the concerns you have raised.

We know that the only way services get better is through feedback from patients, their families and carers, but we need your help.
[quote][p][bold]Thunderbird4[/bold] wrote: At the same hospital, I found a friends drip medication had another patients name on it. This was very worrying. I checked the medical record and fortunately it was the same medication and dose rate. The senior nurse asked me not to say anything as no harm had been done. This is just a case of - I can't be bothered to to do the job properly and re-label the medication. At this hospital, two people had personal belongings stolen. At Queens, Romford, I took a friend a phone charger, it was never seen again and he had to buy a new one. Myself, at Whipps, have had personal property stolen. I wrote to the health minister and got the standard letter of apology. Theft in hospitals from patients who are sleeping, is endemic. There is a small number of staff who behave as criminals and look upon sleeping patients as cash cows; it's a disgraceful state of affairs. The hospital authorities know it goes on but allow it to continue. Safe in our hands.[/p][/quote]Dear Thunderbird4, We are in the process of resolving Mr Smith's concerns. I wonder if you would be able to help the local NHS by getting in touch with the team here to give us the details of the concerns you have raised in your comment. I ask this here as there is no other way to contact you as there is no email address or telephone number in the comment. Please simply get in touch on 01279 82 70 84 so we can investigate the concerns you have raised. We know that the only way services get better is through feedback from patients, their families and carers, but we need your help. nhs_shahid
  • Score: 0

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