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Ambulance service covering Sussex sent confidential information to wrong people
The ambulance trust which covers Sussex investigated 32 serious incidents in just one year – including sending confidential documents to the wrong people.
The incidents have been revealed following a Freedom of Information request to South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb), which covers Sussex, Kent and Surrey.
Cases which have been investigated as a 'serious incident requiring investigation' (SIRI) include when the trust accidentally leaked private information about patients on a number of occasions.
In one incident a member of staff found paperwork left at the home of a patient which related to another person. The paperwork was forwarded to the named hospital who then notified the trust of the mishap.
Another time a private business was accidentally faxed “vulnerable persons report forms”. The business shredded the forms.
An investigation revealed the fax machine at Emergency Operations Centre were not pre-programmed with the appropriate numbers, increasing the risk of a misdial. Measures have since been taken to prevent this happening again.
An incident also took place where a patient fractured her arm – but it was not treated until two days later.
She had told ambulance staff she did not want to be taken to hospital and the trust said “no root cause” of what happened was found, after she complained.
In relation to this SECAmb said: “A complaint was received regarding the non-conveyance of a patient.
“The patient had sustained a fracture to the right upper arm that was only identified when the patient had an x-ray two days later at a minor injuries unit.
“No clinical issues relating to this incident were identified as the patient was fully informed and made the decision that she did not wish to be transported to hospital.”
A SECAmb spokesman said: “SIRIs are declared by the trust itself and do not on their own indicate patient harm.
“Each incident is the subject of a thorough investigation.
“Serious incidents within our service are not common and need to be seen in the context of the number of calls we receive each year which was more than 723,000 during 2011/12.
“SIRIs act as a valuable learning tool which ultimately leads to improved patient safety in the future.”
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