Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Trust told to apologise to patient after failing to provide care package on discharge

The Public Services Ombudsman has ordered Belfast Trust to provide a
The Public Services Ombudsman has ordered Belfast Trust to provide a "meaningful apology" to the patient. [stock photo]

Belfast Trust has been told to apologise to a patient for failing to properly assess her care needs before discharging her from the Royal Victoria Hospital.

The 67-year-old woman was admitted to hospital on April 30, 2016 after falling at home and fracturing her right arm.

The patient said she had raised concerns about her ability to cope at home with nursing and physiotherapy staff prior to leaving hospital.

She explained that her next of kin was her 72-year-old cousin who also suffered from various health conditions.

She complained that trust staff failed to provide her with an occupational therapy or social work assessment prior to discharging her on 20 May 2016. 

The patient claimed that in failing to do so, the trust had failed to appropriately provide her with a care package.

The woman referred herself to the Northern Health and Social Care Trust's re-ablement team on May 23 and made a complaint to the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman team who investigated her care.

In a report into the matter Marie Anderson, the Public Services Ombudsman, said that trust staff failed to appropriately assess the patients needs on discharge.

"I am satisfied that the failures in care and treatment I have identified caused the patient to experience the injustice of inconvenience and upset," Ms Anderson. 

"She lost the opportunity to have a suitable care package in place post discharge. I also consider the failures in care and treatment and maladministration caused her the injustice of having to wait for a care package; upset, distress and anxiety in having to care for herself over the weekend period and independently source a care package assessment three days after discharge. "

Ms Anderson recommended the trust give a "meaningful apology" to the patient and pay a consolatory payment of £750 to the woman.

The ombudsman also recommended further training was given to multi-disciplinary teams on the importance of clear record keeping on assessments, referrals, decisions and communications with patients.

The Belfast Trust has been approached for comment.

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