St Helier patient's medical notes misfiled and surgery cancelled at last minute

St Helier Hospital in Carshalton

St Helier Hospital in Carshalton

First published in News
Last updated
Sutton Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A patient whose medical notes were misfiled has branded NHS staff incompetent and a "waste of taxpayers’ money".

Rajesh Raghwani, from Cheam Road, East Ewell, said his surgery at St Helier Hospital was cancelled the night before two operations scheduled for March 21 and April 9.

Mr Raghwani said after the first cancellation he was informed that his medical notes had gone missing so the surgeon could not remove his impacted wisdom tooth as planned.

On April 14, following the second last-minute cancellation, he complained to Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust over the fact that his notes were still missing.

In the complaint, he said: "I would like to make it clear that it is not compensation I am after but wanted to highlight the poor level of service I have recently had from St Helier Hospital and how the incompetence of that staff is simply a waste of taxpayers’ money.

"Appointments cancelled, rebooked and cancelled not only cause an inconvenience but results in surgeons not carrying out surgery and those in need having to wait longer which is an inefficient use of limited resources."

A trust spokesman, who explained a new electronic tagging system for patient records was introduced last year, said Mr Raghwani's records: "were stored in the health records library, but were misfiled in the library as the result of human error.

"The notes were located and filed correctly in the health records library on April 16."

In response to Mr Raghwani's concerns over poor service, incompetence and wasted money, he said: "We are very proud of all of our staff at the trust, and our administrative teams consistently work hard to ensure all filing of records is managed smoothly.

"As with any organisation however, there is an inevitable degree of human error; this was the cause of Mr Raghwani’s notes being temporarily misplaced, and the trust apologises for this."

Mr Raghwani said on March 21 he called the oral and maxillofacial surgery department and was informed that other patients' appointments had also been cancelled because of missing notes.

He said: "How many people have been affected and what is the cost to the NHS for cancelling surgery last minute as salaried staff do not operate, let alone the inconvenience caused?"

When asked whether this was an isolated case and if not how many others were affected, the trust said that the hospital was still finalising its figures on cancelled appointments for the year.

It said: "As for your other detailed questions regarding figures and numbers, we would ask that you submit these questions as a formal FoI [Freedom of Information] request. "That will provide you with a more definitive answer than we can provide at this point."

In a statement the trust said: "We would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused to Mr Raghwani - an administrative error saw his medical records misfiled, which resulted in a delay to his wisdom tooth procedure.

"However, this error has since been rectified and Mr Raghwani now has two appointments scheduled for times suitable to him.

"Managing patient records is a huge task and last year we launched a new project to electronically tag and track each and every one of our current medical records.

"By doing so, we will be able to identify where all patient notes are within our hospitals more effectively and efficiently.

"Whilst we are confident this project will benefit our patients and staff once completed, there has been an element of unavoidable disruption, which is often the case with projects such as this.

"However, we have been working hard to resolve issues for both staff and patients.

"The new tagging system will allow for the consistently timely delivery of case notes, which will streamline procedures and enrich the overall patient experience."

Comments (2)

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4:21pm Wed 28 May 14

Mr Busman says...

Nothing changes then, a few years ago although delayed and not cancelled, I was booked into Epsom Hospital for a 2nd epidural for lower back problems.
When it come to sedation time they told me it was delayed a bit as my notes were still at St Helier and they were sending a courier to get them.
Why I had to go to Epsom i never know as it all started at St Helier as I practically live next door
Nothing changes then, a few years ago although delayed and not cancelled, I was booked into Epsom Hospital for a 2nd epidural for lower back problems. When it come to sedation time they told me it was delayed a bit as my notes were still at St Helier and they were sending a courier to get them. Why I had to go to Epsom i never know as it all started at St Helier as I practically live next door Mr Busman
  • Score: 2

8:38am Thu 29 May 14

jswan1 says...

People are so quick to criticise the health services. These sort of things happen all the time, it's not a big deal, nobody was hurt. Yes it highlights a requirement for improved efficiency but it's hardly newsworthy.

Perhaps Mr Raghwani should be more thankful for the free healthcare this country offers him. Maybe if there wasn't so much immigration to this country the sheer volume of patient files would be easier to manage.
People are so quick to criticise the health services. These sort of things happen all the time, it's not a big deal, nobody was hurt. Yes it highlights a requirement for improved efficiency but it's hardly newsworthy. Perhaps Mr Raghwani should be more thankful for the free healthcare this country offers him. Maybe if there wasn't so much immigration to this country the sheer volume of patient files would be easier to manage. jswan1
  • Score: 3

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