The Anonymous Widower

A Double Database Cock-Up From The NHS

At three on Sunday morning, I phoned NHS 111 to ask for a bit of help with my terrible cold that was stopping me from even getting to sleep.

I had some advice which helped, but I was also booked in to see a doctor at 09:00 in a surgery a short bus ride away.

So far so good and no complaints.

I duly saw the doctor and he prescribed several drugs, which I took to my local Boots later in the morning.

I should say at this point, that four years ago, I officially changed my name from the one my parents gave me to the one I’ve used continuously since 1968. I was starting to get problems with some airlines, where my passport had a different name to my bank account. My current GP has only ever known me by the latter name and I’m registered with their surgery using it.

When I got to Boots, they initially rejected the prescription, as for some reason it showed by old name, although my address, NHS number and other personal details were correct.

How did the wrong name get on the prescription?

Luckily, Boots were pragmatic and as they recognised me, I got some of thew drugs.

But not all!

The pharmacist recognised that two drugs were incompatible with the Warfarin I take.

So why did the NHS computer system allow the doctor to prescribe the drugs?

As someone who was at the forefront of database technology, I believe, these two problems are inexcusable.

My incorrect name could have led to failure to obtain needed drugs.

The lack of interaction checking, could have led to serious problems for a patient.

January 7, 2019 - Posted by | Computing, Health | , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. Seems you have two names and hence probably two records. If the record used to help with the prescription (and the doctor) did not know about your existing medication then system would not flag up the incompatibility. GIGO

    Comment by Mark Clayton | January 7, 2019 | Reply

  2. I was at the GP’s this morning and their database is correct.

    It looks to me that 111 are using an old copy of the database.

    Comment by AnonW | January 7, 2019 | Reply

  3. When I had sepsis we discovered that I had three separate records at the local hospital – two for my full name, and one with me as Liz! Thankfully I was able to sort that. But I know that a chunk of my notes are missing from years ago when we moved and the doctors never forwarded the notes to the new doctor. I use Boots pharmacy, and on the whole they are fine; sometimes they are very slow, and sometimes the don’t text me to tell my my prescription is in and ready. And sometimes they do text me and when one of use gets there to collect it, it isn’t ready! I hope that you are feeling a bit better now James, take care and be gentle with yourself.

    Comment by nosnikrapzil | January 7, 2019 | Reply

  4. I’m hanging in there.

    I’ve found that one of my best friends, who is a retired pharmacist has the same lurgy!

    So now we can compare notes!

    Comment by AnonW | January 7, 2019 | Reply


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