Austin Health, a major metropolitan hospital in Melbourne, has mistakenly sent out more than 200 death notices to GPs informing them that their patients had died in hospital.
Only the problem was, the patients were alive.
GPs were contacted within hours and told of the mistake, but one had already informed a patient’s family of the death.
Dr Tony Bartone, President of AMA Victoria, says the mistake was “unacceptable”.
The hospital’s IT system, which notifies GPs automatically when their patients are discharged, has been blamed for the mishap, but Bartone says this is no excuse.
“IT issues must not undermine patient care or trust in the Victorian healthcare system,” he said.
“Many of these GPs have long relationships with these patients and their families. It would have been distressing to receive such a fax, especially relating to the unexpected death of children and teenagers. It is unacceptable for failings like this to happen.
“This serves to underline the importance of a strong and robust, state-wide IT health system. Victorians are still being denied this necessary resource.”
Austin Health, which is one of the state’s largest emergency units and home to some of Australia’s leading teaching and referral centres, has apologised for the incident.
Read more here.
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