18:01 14 August 2014
One of Melbourne’s largest hospitals has accidentally reported 200 patients as dead instead of discharged. Austin hospital has since apologised for the mistake of sending 200 notices to general practitioners telling them that their patients have died.
However, the Victorian opposition leader and the state’s peak body representing general practitioner said that the error was unacceptable.
Austin Health released the notifications on July 30 as part of an automated IT system telling the doctors that their patients were discharged from the hospital.
“In the process of changing the template which notifies a GP of his or her patient’s death, the changes were saved to the standard [discharge] template,” an Austin Health spokeswoman said.
“We immediately corrected the error upon its identification.
“We apologised unreservedly to affected clinics who, for the most part, were very understanding about the error.”
Labor’s Daniel Andrew, Victoria’s opposition leader, said that the error was a sign of an overstretched health system in crisis.
“It is unacceptable that an error like that was made,” he said.
“Many of these GPs have long relationships with these patients and their families,” he said.
“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. IT issues must not undermine patient care or trust in the Victorian healthcare system.”