Delays in patients receiving medication blocking beds at Dorset County Hospital

Chief executive Jean O’Callaghan

Chief executive Jean O’Callaghan

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

HOSPITAL beds are being blocked due to delays in administering medication.

Dorset County Hospital governors have raised concerns over the number of patients told they can leave – but then have to wait ‘four or five hours’ for medicines.

A meeting heard that until a new £500,000 electronic system is fully installed, problems will remain.

Patient governor Wendy Nightingale said: “Why is there such a long delay?

“People are being told they can go home but are then waiting four or five hours for their discharge medication.”

She said on a feedback form one patient had said: “Discharge was a mess. I have had to wait for ages for my medication.’ Chairman Dr Jeffrey Ellwood said it was a ‘fundamental flaw in our patient experience’ and likened the hospital to an airline that loses its customerss bags.

He said: “Like an airline, we are getting you from A to B safely, and then we blow it by losing your luggage.”

The meeting heard that the hospital had made ‘good progress’ in cutting waiting times, but that problems still exist.

Chief executive Jean O’Callaghan said: “While there is still an unacceptable level of delays, there has been progress.”

Governors were told the hospital is still waiting for national funding for the project, due to be completed in May 2015.

It will include software, new medication lockers and new ward trolleys.

A spokesman for Dorset County Hospital said: “Once a decision is taken that a patient can go home there are various procedures and checks that must be followed before they can leave the hospital.

“TTOs (to take out medicine prescriptions) will generally be written up by a junior doctor at the end of their ward round and then need to be verified by a pharmacist as a safety check.

“The pharmacist will often use this time to speak to the patient if there is any particular information they need about their medicines.

“The TTO forms then go to pharmacy and items are dispensed and checked. Then the medicines are taken back to the ward by a porter or by a member of the discharge team if the patient has been taken to our discharge lounge. There may also be arrangements required for transport or social services support.

“All these things take time so patients will not leave hospital immediately but we make every effort to ensure they can go home as swiftly as possible.

“Electronic prescribing will speed up the process and improve safety as there will be no ambiguity about what has been prescribed and the system will immediately flag issues such as drugs prescribed together which may potentially interact.”

A progress report will be presented to the governors in six months’ time.

Comments (6)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

7:46am Mon 31 Mar 14

Oakyew says...

The solution theoretically seems simple: instead of the junior doctor writing up the discharge medications at the end of the ward round do it as they go. Although not likely to be done as there appear to be so few of them. Secondly the ward based pharmacy team and techs seem to cover multiple clinical areas and are therefore bombarded with calls in the morning and with there only being the one pharmacist can only do one at a time. Then the pharmacy department have a massive workload in the morning.
Perhaps maybe use the money spent on the new computer system to employ more junior medics, more pharmacists and pharmacy techs to work on the wards and in the pharmacy department then the process will be slicker and everyone will be happy???
The solution theoretically seems simple: instead of the junior doctor writing up the discharge medications at the end of the ward round do it as they go. Although not likely to be done as there appear to be so few of them. Secondly the ward based pharmacy team and techs seem to cover multiple clinical areas and are therefore bombarded with calls in the morning and with there only being the one pharmacist can only do one at a time. Then the pharmacy department have a massive workload in the morning. Perhaps maybe use the money spent on the new computer system to employ more junior medics, more pharmacists and pharmacy techs to work on the wards and in the pharmacy department then the process will be slicker and everyone will be happy??? Oakyew
  • Score: 5

10:41am Mon 31 Mar 14

sunny1966 says...

This has been going on for years, and only now has someone decided to moan about it. DCH will get worse before it gets better, i bet they haven’t told everyone that!, we will get to a stage again where patients will be left waiting on trolleys in corridors, mark my words. DCH used to be one of the best hospitals around, the truth is it is getting worse by the day, you only have to see the frustrated attitude of the nurses, and the "I don’t care attitude of the Doctors". I see this daily, truth of the matter is there are massive salaries being taken by certain people there and not enough being done by them to make amends. Taking money under false pretences.
This has been going on for years, and only now has someone decided to moan about it. DCH will get worse before it gets better, i bet they haven’t told everyone that!, we will get to a stage again where patients will be left waiting on trolleys in corridors, mark my words. DCH used to be one of the best hospitals around, the truth is it is getting worse by the day, you only have to see the frustrated attitude of the nurses, and the "I don’t care attitude of the Doctors". I see this daily, truth of the matter is there are massive salaries being taken by certain people there and not enough being done by them to make amends. Taking money under false pretences. sunny1966
  • Score: 2

10:59am Mon 31 Mar 14

Dorset Guy1 says...

Clinical care faultless unless anyone knows different
Hospital information to strangers on sight is poor ie get off bus follow signs - wrong way - back track climb stairs enter - look for directions to "Out Patients" above your head - nothing - look around - find more directions - success! Not a major problem you might think but for someone arriving with little time to spare or slightly disabled = stress!
Clinical care faultless unless anyone knows different Hospital information to strangers on sight is poor ie get off bus follow signs - wrong way - back track climb stairs enter - look for directions to "Out Patients" above your head - nothing - look around - find more directions - success! Not a major problem you might think but for someone arriving with little time to spare or slightly disabled = stress! Dorset Guy1
  • Score: 0

12:12pm Mon 31 Mar 14

portlandboy says...

There seems to be a conflict of priorities where the DCH pharmacy is concerned.
I have experienced twice-daily visits from pharmacy staff who look at every inpatient's medicine chart, checking that the right drugs are given at the right time etc. They often pick up anomalies or missing items that have been prescribed. This is all good, except that while they are doing that, there is a shortage of staff actually dispensing the items. Do they really need to visit quite so often?
I have personally watched a man slowly losing conciousness due to not receiving his insulin from the pharmacy. To rectify the situation, I let the staff use some of mine from my spares in their fridge! Yet the pharmacy still took as long as they liked. Late drugs can cause patients to become even more ill than they were.
I have also waited for TTO's after being discharged. On one occasion, it took from 10am until after teatime to get them delivered to the ward, so I spent a whole day blocking a bed. Many people get sent to the discharge lounge to wait for TTO's but they close at 5pm (I think) so what happens if you are still waiting for the pharmacy then?
There seems to be a conflict of priorities where the DCH pharmacy is concerned. I have experienced twice-daily visits from pharmacy staff who look at every inpatient's medicine chart, checking that the right drugs are given at the right time etc. They often pick up anomalies or missing items that have been prescribed. This is all good, except that while they are doing that, there is a shortage of staff actually dispensing the items. Do they really need to visit quite so often? I have personally watched a man slowly losing conciousness due to not receiving his insulin from the pharmacy. To rectify the situation, I let the staff use some of mine from my spares in their fridge! Yet the pharmacy still took as long as they liked. Late drugs can cause patients to become even more ill than they were. I have also waited for TTO's after being discharged. On one occasion, it took from 10am until after teatime to get them delivered to the ward, so I spent a whole day blocking a bed. Many people get sent to the discharge lounge to wait for TTO's but they close at 5pm (I think) so what happens if you are still waiting for the pharmacy then? portlandboy
  • Score: 1

4:01pm Mon 31 Mar 14

JackJohnson says...

If they're fit enough to be discharged it's unikely they need to occupy a bed while they wait for their meds.
If they're fit enough to be discharged it's unikely they need to occupy a bed while they wait for their meds. JackJohnson
  • Score: 0

5:47pm Mon 31 Mar 14

mr commonsense says...

The usual mix of incorrect postings?
Last week I was admitted to DCH as an emergency,3 day stay. The clinical care was faultless, the food was dreadful, the cleaning of the wards was a joke and the general standard inside the hospital was below par, poor washing of hands etc.
On the point of medication I found the system worked extremely well and of course there will always a wait whilst your medicine is dispensed. You do not need to block a bed as there is a most attractive discharge lounge with drinks, magazines,TV and pleasant people to talk to. They even make phone calls for you.
Credit where credit is due .
The usual mix of incorrect postings? Last week I was admitted to DCH as an emergency,3 day stay. The clinical care was faultless, the food was dreadful, the cleaning of the wards was a joke and the general standard inside the hospital was below par, poor washing of hands etc. On the point of medication I found the system worked extremely well and of course there will always a wait whilst your medicine is dispensed. You do not need to block a bed as there is a most attractive discharge lounge with drinks, magazines,TV and pleasant people to talk to. They even make phone calls for you. Credit where credit is due . mr commonsense
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree