‘Trust’s failures caused patient inconvenience, distress and anxiety’

A 67-year-old woman with a broken arm who was discharged from the Royal Victoria Hospital without a suitable care package being put in place was failed by the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, the NI Public Services Ombudsman has ruled.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 14th May 2019, 5:20 pm
The Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast. Pic: Google
The Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast. Pic: Google

The woman, who had a number of existing health conditions at the time of the incident, was treated at the hospital’s fracture ward before being discharged on May 20, 2016.

She later complained to the ombudsman that the trust failed to appropriately assess her needs prior to discharge.

She said she had had to independently source a care package several days later, despite having raised concerns with nursing and physiotherapy staff about her ability to cope at home.

The Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast. Pic: Google

Despite the trust claiming during the investigation that there was “nothing in the clinical notes to indicate that the services of a social worker or occupational therapist was required or requested”, and that there was “no evidence of [the patient] raising any major concerns at the point of discharge”, the ombudsman identified failures in the patient’s care and treatment.

The ombudsman concluded that the trust’s failures and “maladministration” had caused the patient “inconvenience, distress and anxiety.”

The investigation report made a series of recommendations, including that the trust apologise to the patient and provide her with a consolatory payment of £750.

It also said training should be given to multi-disciplinary teams about the importance of keeping accurate records of discussions, assessments and decisions.

At the time of writing, the Belfast Trust said it was unable to make any comment.