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Family Told ‘Dead’ Grandfather Was ‘Walking Around Hospital Ward’

Published on: 30 Aug, 2022
Updated on: 3 Sep, 2022

The Royal Surrey County Hospital

By Emily Coady-Stemp

local democracy reporter

A Surrey hospital phoned the family of a dead grandfather to say he was walking around its ward.

The family received the call from the Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust despite having previously been told he had died.

The granddaughter of the dead man complained to the hospital trust, which has led to a change in procedures.

A spokesperson for the trust said: “The Trust sincerely apologised for the upset caused to the family by this isolated error and explained how this occurred.”

The summary of complaints to the trust said the granddaughter had complained about a telephone call the family received “advising that her grandfather was walking around the ward, despite the fact that they had previously been informed that he had passed away”.

The trust’s complaints page showed that Single Assessment Forms, which contain basic personal information and next of kin contact details for each patient, would now be kept with main medical records to avoid similar incidents.

It also said the family had been given an explanation of how the incident had happened, as well as an apology being given for the “upset caused”.

The trust runs several hospitals including Royal Surrey County Hospital, Haslemere hospital, Milford hospital, Cranleigh village hospital but the trust declined to specify at which hospital the incident occurred nor would it confirm when the patient had died or when the call was made.

The complaint was upheld by the trust and published in its complaints for March-May 2022.

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