Case sparks call for improvements

By Connie Osborne Friday 11 April 2014 Updated: 11/04 11:40

A WOMAN was wrongly given antibiotics which made her unwell because doctors were unaware she was not allowed to take them.

Anne Bradford has called for a new electronic system to be put in place for hospitals transferring medical records following the mix-up.

The Hunt End resident said the archaic system was a 'fatality waiting to happen' after the results of a routine blood test flagged up issues with her liver due to taking the drugs.

The ordeal happened after the 80-year-old went for a routine check up at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham when staff spotted a sore on her leg and told her she needed to see her GP.

As she was already on medication for rheumatoid arthritis her consultant at the hospital said she should not take any antibiotics because they could make her unwell and impact on her liver.

A letter was then sent from the hospital to her GP but a delay in receiving it meant her doctor was unaware of the issue and prescribed her tablets which were believed to be compatible with her medication.

The author became unwell with pains in her stomach and went back to her doctor where she was prescribed another drug which made her stomach worse.

It was not until she went to the Alexandra Hospital for a routine blood test that doctor's spotted her liver was not functioning properly.

"I just think it is awful in today's society that information as important as this can not be passed over virtually," she said.

"I was very unwell but luckily for me it was not serious enough to severely harm me. I think it is something which is very necessary and one of these days there will be a fatality if it isn't changed."

Currently the NHS does not have a single system in place to share records, although Trusts across the country including Worcestershire Acute NHS Trust have internal systems to transfer data to their own hospital sites.

A spokeswoman from University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust said a shared IT system would reduce risks from commonly used medicines and the Trust fully supported introducing one.

She added a letter was sent out five days after the consultation, and although patients are advised on medication it was ultimately a doctor's judgement.

"In this case the liver problems started to resolve quickly and the GP practice, local hospitals and the Rheumatology Department at QEHB were able to communicate efficiently with each other.

"However, a single IT system would make this a more seamless process."

A spokeswoman from Worcestershire Acute NHS Trust said work was underway to improve transferring information between hospitals and GPs.

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