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A husband called their practice to request a home visit for his wife who had decided to be at home during her final days. The GPST who was triaging home visits that day misread the receptionist’s note and accidentally pulled up the records for another patient with a similar surname. When he called to make the visit, he was surprised to find no one at home.
The patient’s husband complained to the practice that he had eventually needed to called the out-of-hours service to provide symptom control for the patient in the final hours before her death.
The practice reviewed the records for all the patients triaged that day to see how the mix-up had occurred. It emerged that the GPST, who had recently joined, had not been aware of the practice’s protocol in which GPs called to confirm the address with the patient/carer when arranging a home visit.
In its response to the complaint, the practice apologised to the patient’s husband. The letter explained what had gone wrong and the steps it had taken to tighten its procedures. The husband was satisfied that lessons had been learned and did not take matters further.