Hos­pi­tal pa­tients go miss­ing

Perthshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - Paul Cargill

More than 250 pa­tients went miss­ing from hos­pi­tals in Tay­side in the last three years, fig­ures re­leased through Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion (FoI) leg­is­la­tion sug­gest.

Asked how many pa­tients had been ab­sent in the pe­riod, NHS Tay­side said 262 “in­ci­dents of pa­tients miss­ing” had been recorded on their In­ci­dent Re­port­ing Sys­tem. All were said to have been found “in the same pe­riod”.

The health board’s re­sponse to other ques­tions about pa­tients go­ing miss­ing also re­vealed 10 chil­dren aged un­der 16 were re­ported miss­ing in the same pe­riod, although it added they were all found on the same day they were re­ported miss­ing.

Asked how many fa­tal­i­ties had oc­curred as a re­sult of pa­tients go­ing miss­ing NHS Tay­side an­swered there had been fewer than five but re­fused to give fur­ther de­tails say­ing this could lead to the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of in­di­vid­u­als.

Ex­plain­ing their re­sponse to the ques­tions a spokes­woman for NHS Tay­side said: “NHS Tay­side takes its duty of care to pa­tients very se­ri­ously and has a pol­icy in place which has pro­ce­dures for staff to fol­low in the case of a miss­ing pa­tient.

“This pol­icy was de­vel­oped in part­ner­ship with Po­lice Scot­land.

“The data col­lected within NHS Tay­side does not sep­a­rate the cat­e­gories of “ab­sent” and “miss­ing”.

“A per­son may be ab­sent for var­i­ous rea­sons, in­clud­ing a late re­turn from a visit home or an ap­point­ment, but that episode would be in­cluded within the data in the miss­ing per­sons cat­e­gory.”

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