Investigation launched after Sheffield patient waits 12 hours on A&E trolley due to recording error

A&E at Northern General Hospital
A&E at Northern General Hospital

An investigation has been launched after a woman had to wait 12 hours on an A&E trolley due to a member of staff removing her from the computer system by mistake.

Documents seen by The Star from said a patient who entered A&E on December 28, 2016, was meant to be transferred to an inpatient ward but a member of staff accidentally recorded she had been discharged.

The patient - who was adequately fed and watered and came to no harm during the wait - has since received an apology from Northern General Hospital. A report is due to be published to bosses in the coming months.

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Trust who run A&E at the city's Northern General hospital said a further two patients had to wait over 12 hours on an A&E trolley due to staff handling other emergency situations.

City hospital bosses said Northern General's A&E department saw around 350 people per day coming through its' doors over the winter period.

Any incident where a patient is in A&E for more than 12 hours without being discharged or transferred to an inpatient ward is recorded under NHS guidelines.

Bosses at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals were keen to stress the long waits in A&E was not down to bed availability elsewhere.

Kirsten Major, director of strategy & operations, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “Once the decision has been made to admit a patient from A&E to a hospital ward, we will usually transfer the patient very quickly.

"Regrettably during the exceptionally busy winter period and three patients did wait 12 hours to be transferred even though the beds on the ward were ready in advance of this time.

"In one of the instances there was a processing error which meant that the patient was not moved as soon as the bed was available. The other two cases were because our staff had to deal with other emergency patients coming in to the department and so it took longer than usual to make the physical transfer of these two particular patients who has already been assessed and were being cared for.

"Whilst waiting to be moved to the wards, all three patients were placed in a comfortable area and were monitored regularly as well as being offered appropriate food and drink.

"A full review has been conducted and there was no compromise to any of the patient’s treatment and care. We have apologised to the patients involved and explained why they waited longer than expected.”