NHS patients forced to stay in hospital due to medication delays

Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield
Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield

Some NHS patients have been forced to spend an extra night in hospital because of delays in getting their take-home medication.

The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury Hospitals admitted that the problem had affected several patients in recent months.

The trust said the delays were not in the pharmacy department, but as a result of ward rounds taking several hours.

The trust said the delays were not in the pharmacy department, but as a result of ward rounds taking several hours.

It comes as the trust tries to reduce issues connected with bed-blocking, where patients fit enough to go home end up remaining in hospital.

The problem was raised at Wakefield's health scrutiny committee on Thursday.

The trust's director for nursing, David Melia, could not say how many occasions a patient had been forced to stay an extra night in recent months, but said, "It is a problem and we do acknowledge that."

He added: "Very often it isn't an issue with the pharmacy department, it's often a delay with the take-home prescription being written out.

"Often the decision to discharge will happen on a ward round, and the doctor won't stop to write the prescription there and then.

"They will wait to the end of the round, which can be several hours later."

Mr Melia said a number of initiatives had been tried out to deal with the issue, including employing junior doctors to write out medication notes for patients after they've been told they can go home.

The situation is also complicated by the trust's policy of not discharging anyone from the hospital after 8pm unless they have consent, and waits for ambulances to take some patients home.

Mr Melia added: "In some places we've had junior doctors go on a ward round as well, and when a patient is told they can go home, they will then absent themselves from the next patient and write out the prescription.

"That's been successful on some occasions.

"We're not always 100 per cent successful in predicting when patients are going to go home, so that can make things difficult."

Local Democracy Reporting Service