Hospital’s record-keeping criticised after ‘lost’ files lead to operation being cancelled

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AN Islander whose operation was cancelled while he was in the Hospital’s waiting room – after his medical files were ‘lost’ – has criticised the facility’s record-keeping system.

Reverend Philip Osborn – a retired United Reformed Church minister – said he had been due to have cataract surgery earlier this month but that it was called off after he arrived at the unit.

Mr Osborn wrote a letter to Caroline Landon, the director-general of Health and Community Services, in which he said he was ‘extremely worried’ about the situation and claimed that a surgeon informed him that it was ‘not an isolated case’.

A spokesperson for HCS said that Mr Osborn’s records were ‘not located in time’ and that the department was planning to move to an electronic record-keeping system that would help prevent problems in the future.

Speaking to the JEP, Mr Osborn said: ‘I have nothing but compliments for all of the medical staff, whether it be doctors, ambulance crews, accident and emergency staff – every facet of the workforce – but what does concern me are the management decisions in relation to clinical records.’

He added: ‘They lost my clinical records and I fear that there are serious procedural fault-lines with management, which has become top-heavy, and does not understand Jersey.’

The HCS spokesperson said: ‘We would like to apologise to the person affected for any distress caused and would like to reassure Islanders that we take all issues in relation to patient records and record keeping very seriously.’

They added: ‘There are occasions when paper records have not been able to be located in time for planned patient activity and in response we are planning to implement an electronic patient record which will mitigate for issues with paper notes alongside current measures, such as more staff in this area and regular audits.

‘This will be of great benefit to patients and colleagues as records will be accessible immediately without the need for paper copies having to be transported throughout the Hospital with associated delays.’ Mr Osborn is not the first Islander to raise concerns about the General Hospital in recent weeks. On Tuesday, patient Evelyn Oeillet said she was left feeling ‘scared and alone’ after the Medical Day Unit had to be moved to create space for emergency admissions – meaning she had to go without her weekly treatment, an infusion of potassium and magnesium.

Earlier this month the Island’s medical director, Dr Patrick Armstrong, said that the Hospital was experiencing unprecedented bed-blocking because a lack of carers in the community was preventing many patients from being discharged.

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