The Health and Disability Commissioner has recommended that a health provider update its policies, and provide further education to staff, after a number of failings resulted in a patient’s rights being breached.

The patient was transferred, and when he arrived only basic details were recorded about his health and medication requirements.

The original assessment did not take into account his need for medication in a timely fashion.

The patient was not provided with his medication on three occasions. On one of the instances, the patient requested three times to be provided his medicine, but the nurse said that she would follow up in the morning instead.

The Health & Disability Commissioner was critical that there was a failure to follow the correct processes to ensure that patients received their medicine and noted that there were potentially serious consequences if doses were missed.

The Commissioner held that the patient’s right to have services provided with reasonable care and skill was breached, and recommended that the provider:

  • review and, if necessary, update the initial assessment and triage/categorisation process;
  • provide training to staff on the triage process;
  • provide training to staff on the policy for missed medication doses; and
  • apologise to the patient.

It is important that organisations have the correct policies in place to ensure that patient medical needs are well understood, medicines are in stock, and doses are consistently provided. Failure to do so may result in poor health outcomes for the people concerned.

If there are concerns that a healthcare provider has failed to ensure that medicines are properly provided to people dependent on them, it is wise to speak with a professional experienced in the area.

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