Did you receive the wrong prescription?


Lisa Swales from Simpson Millar’s Medical Negligence team spoke live on BBC Radio Berkshire this morning with presenter Andrew Peach after they reported the story of local resident Hannah Peacock whose’ Doctors had given her someone else’s medication. Lisa explained how and why patients should file a complaint against the NHS if they are prescribed not just the wrong medication, but medication addressed to another patient entirely.


Lisa Swales reveals your right to complain for receiving the wrong prescription

Going into hospital for a procedure is a stressful situation for anybody, without later discovering that the medication experts had sent you home with was not just incorrect but addressed to someone else entirely.

Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence and is an issue that the medical negligence team at Simpson Millar investigates on a regular basis.

The importance of receiving the correct medication

The consequence of this lack of care on the part of the NHS is a major cause of concern. The side effects of certain medications can be detrimental to a person’s health – especially someone who is already ill or recovering from surgery.

The main problem is that the NHS is extremely busy; patients are being rushed through – especially during the night and over the weekend, and they are not receiving the level of care and attention they deserve.

During the prescription of medication, there is ample opportunity for the consulting doctor and pharmacist to check medical notes to ensure the correct medication is being prescribed. It is an extremely simple but highly important process, because the ramifications of taking the wrong medication are very serious.

Complaints procedure

Being prescribed the wrong medication is absolutely unacceptable, and it is essential that patients are aware that they do not have to suffer in silence.

Patients can file a complaint against the NHS in one of two ways:

  1. Through the NHS complains procedure or
  2. Through a formal letter of complaint to the NHS Trust.

When following the NHS complaints procedure, the patient is assigned a liaison officer who should inform them of the progress of their complaint. However, in our experience, this is not always the case, with complaints being overlooked and evidence going missing.

A formal letter of to the NHS Trust however ensures a response, and allows the patient to request an investigation into how this monumental error was able to happen.

This letter can be written by the patient themselves, or they are well within their rights to contact a medical negligence solicitor, such as ourselves, to draft the letter on their behalf.

Once the complaint has been filed, we can assess the routes available and can conduct our own investigations.

It is clear that the NHS needs to take action to prevent these accidents happening in the future, and it is only through patients having the courage to complain that the NHS will take note and make a change.

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