A DEAD child being moved without permission, and private medical records left lying around, were among the worst blunders at a Sheffield hospital over the last year.
Clinical samples were returned late, and a youngster was given an overdose of powerful drugs, according to a list of ‘serious untoward incidents’ covering the past 12 months at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
Formal complaints were up by more than a third to 120 last year, from 79 in 2011/12.
The breaches are revealed in the hospital’s latest annual Quality Report, which assesses standards of care.
John Reid, the hospital’s director of nursing and clinical operations, said: “We aim to provide high quality services for all our families and have a strong record of providing safe care. We have a very strong reporting culture, encourage staff to fully report any incidents, and conduct a full investigation into the circumstances.
“Every trust aims to eliminate such incidents and this can only be done by being open and learning from them.”
An inspection last October found the hospital was meeting quality and safety standards.
During the last financial year, the children’s hospital reported seven serious incidents, among them a mix-up over a deceased patient.
“Following death, a patient was transferred to an external hospital without consent of the coroner, and in breach of local guidelines,” the report said.
Discussions had taken place with the coroner and guidelines had been reviewed.
Meanwhile, on one occasion confidential papers were not kept safe while being delivered by a courier.
The report said: “Medical records were left unattended in a public area by a contracted third-party courier during delivery. No breach of confidentiality ensued.”
Contracts with the hospital trust’s postal provider were later reviewed.
There was also a delay in returning samples to a number of families. The samples were taken with consent, but not given back following the agreed examination period.
Following the incident, two separate databases used to record samples were merged.
In addition, a child was given an overdose of opiate drugs - despite not having previously been given the medication - while two patients underwent X-rays unnecessarily.
More than 60 of the formal complaints were about treatment - mainly diagnoses and the outcome of medical care - while 17 related to delayed and cancelled appointments. Nine people had issues with the attitude of staff. Work starts at the hospital this summer on a £40m redevelopment programme.