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Hospitals paid out PS16,000 for lost items.

Byline: BEN ECCLESTON News Reporter

HOSPITAL bosses in Coventry and Warwickshire paid out nearly PS16,000 for lost personal items last year, including dentures and hearing aids.

Nearly PS50,000 in compensation was also forked out in the region in 2016/17, with George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton being responsible for more than PS37,000 of that figure.

Payments for loss of personal items and compensation helped make up a total of PS52.5million of reported losses and special payments by NHS Trusts across England in 2016/17. One of the strangest payments was PS150 for a patient's "ruined Christmas".

UHCW TrustA total of more than PS250,000 of losses and special payments were racked up by Coventry and Warwickshire hospitals last year. According to NHS guidance, losses and special payments are items that the Government would not have contemplated when funding the health service.

University Hospitals of Coventry and Warwickshire reported PS84,066 in losses and special payments in 2016/17, including PS43,815 in overseas patient bad debt, PS271 in private patient bad debt and PS16,492 in other bad debt.

As well as this, PS8,550 was paid in compensation under legal obligations and PS9,667 was paid out for the loss of personal effects, including PS3,621 for lost dentures, PS1,249 for lost hearing aids and PS44.99 for a lost shoe.

George Eliot Hospital-Nuneaton's hospital reported PS67,880 in losses and special payments in 2016/17, including PS1,537 in overseas patients bad debt and PS1,634 in other bad debt.

The trust also lost PS6,146 due to overpayments of salaries, PS15,420 in pharmacy stock losses and PS28.40 writing off unpaid library fines.

Lost personal items accounted for PS1,508 of the losses, including PS454 for damaged dentures and PS632 for lost hearing aids, while it paid out PS37,554 in compensation.

At South Warwickshire, the total for losses and special payments was PS92,748 in 2016/17, including PS4,519 for lost personal effects.

National pictureThe figures come from a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by WHATDOTHEYKNOW, which is a platform for making FOI requests. As not all of the trusts responded to the request, the total figures may be even higher.

In 2016, PS12.2million worth of debt accrued by overseas visitors was written off, while PS2.3million in private patient bad debt was written off.

Nearly a third (30 per cent) of private patient debt was written off by just one trust - Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust - with 68 per cent of all private patient bad debt coming from six trusts.

Royal Surrey County Hospital recorded PS172.745 in other bad debt, which included PS159,241 owed by Virgin Care Services Ltd, which started High Court Proceedings against NHS England, Surrey County Council and the CCGS after losing out on a contract to provide services in Surrey.

Other lossesMore than PS5million was written off in stock losses in 2016/17, which was mostly made up of expired, damaged or otherwise unusable medications. Trusts also lost a total of PS1.28million in overpayments of salary, with PS553,000 paid out by North Bristol NHS Trust alone, while lost personal items cost PS1.7million.

Dentures, hearing aids and glasses were the most common items to go missing.

As well as compensating patients for lost items, falls and lost earning and travel expenses due to cancelled operations, The Obstetrics and Gynaecology department at Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust paid PS150 to one patient for a "ruined Christmas".

However, some of the losses may have been welcomed by patients, with Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust losing PS1,000 due to a hospital car parking machine returning money in error.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Apr 3, 2018
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