How do medicine bags disappear?

LETTER

I have been unfortunate enough to have been hospitalised in Gisborne this June. Each time I have taken with me hospital-issue green carrier bags containing all my present medication. It’s easy to remember, it’s printed on the bag. Also printed on the bag are instructions to staff to make sure I take the bag back home with the medication I am to take, minus any that have been stopped or altered by a doctor.

On both discharges I was issued my medication in clear plastic bags. When I asked about the green bag, I was told “We don’t know, they have disappeared”.

I have to ask, how do bags containing my medication, issued by the hospital, disappear from a locked room to which only nurses have access to?

My advice is if you are going into hospital in Gisborne, put all your medication in any old plastic bag!

Mr D

Footnote response from Hauora Tairawhiti clinical care manager for shared services Kate Mather:

Ensuring that people who have a stay in Gisborne Hospital go home with the correct medicine is a top priority for my teams. The labelled green carrier bags were an initiative to help us achieve this. Thank you for your letter Mr D. It is a timely reminder to confirm which areas of the hospital are using the green bags and review how effective they are.

However, you can be assured that what medicines you are taking would have been looked at while you were in hospital and adjusted if need be. If your medications were changed, they would have come from the hospital pharmacy. Your old medications are discarded. They are not given back to you, to prevent medication errors occurring.

While your take home medications may not have been in a green bag, they would have been checked to make sure they are what you need.

I have been unfortunate enough to have been hospitalised in Gisborne this June. Each time I have taken with me hospital-issue green carrier bags containing all my present medication. It’s easy to remember, it’s printed on the bag. Also printed on the bag are instructions to staff to make sure I take the bag back home with the medication I am to take, minus any that have been stopped or altered by a doctor.

On both discharges I was issued my medication in clear plastic bags. When I asked about the green bag, I was told “We don’t know, they have disappeared”.

I have to ask, how do bags containing my medication, issued by the hospital, disappear from a locked room to which only nurses have access to?

My advice is if you are going into hospital in Gisborne, put all your medication in any old plastic bag!

Mr D

Footnote response from Hauora Tairawhiti clinical care manager for shared services Kate Mather:

Ensuring that people who have a stay in Gisborne Hospital go home with the correct medicine is a top priority for my teams. The labelled green carrier bags were an initiative to help us achieve this. Thank you for your letter Mr D. It is a timely reminder to confirm which areas of the hospital are using the green bags and review how effective they are.

However, you can be assured that what medicines you are taking would have been looked at while you were in hospital and adjusted if need be. If your medications were changed, they would have come from the hospital pharmacy. Your old medications are discarded. They are not given back to you, to prevent medication errors occurring.

While your take home medications may not have been in a green bag, they would have been checked to make sure they are what you need.

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