MSP’s fury at NHS Borders blunder

THE BORDERS GENERAL HOSPITAL , THE BGH NR GALASHIELS , SCOTTISH BORDERS.  '   '     PHOTO PHIL WILKINSON / TSPL
THE BORDERS GENERAL HOSPITAL , THE BGH NR GALASHIELS , SCOTTISH BORDERS. ' ' PHOTO PHIL WILKINSON / TSPL

NHS Borders has been asked to apologise after 23 dead patients in the region were sent questionnaires asking them to mark their stay in hospital.

The errors were made during the course of an Inpatient Experience Survey carried out across Scotland.

NHS Borders was second behind Argyll and Bute for the most deceased people in its area being sent the poll.

The questions asked in the survey included what arrangements were made to leave hospital and whether the doctors listened to them.

In total, more than 900 of the questionnaires were delivered to dead people across Scotland.

Reacting to the blunder, Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP John Lamont said: “This is a shocking case of insensitivity by health boards across Scotland, but particularly by NHS Borders.

“Most people would have expected that checks were in place to ensure something like this couldn’t happen. I hope procedures will be reviewed to avoid this type of mistake in future.

“This will have caused a great deal of distress to the families of those who passed away and I think the least they deserve is an apology from the health board.”

Calum Campbell, chief executive of NHS Borders, said checks were made by NHS Borders before sending out surveys using their own hospital records as well as information on deaths from the General Register Office for Scotland (GROS). He added: “In a small number of cases, details such as name or date of birth do not match on both death and health records and this may explain why some people who have died have not been removed from the sample.

“There can also be a time delay between a death being registered and NHS boards receiving the information, which also creates the risk that questionnaires could be sent to people who have recently died.

“However, as part of a national review of the administration of the inpatient survey, NHS Borders will work with Scottish Government and also with GROS to improve the timely sharing of information to keep these occurrences to an absolute minimum.”