King’s Lynn hospital health passport should be adopted nationwide, says family of patient honoured by scheme

Launch of new health passport at QEH.'left to right  Samantha Harrington and Alan Bowhay ANL-150303-064438009
Launch of new health passport at QEH.'left to right Samantha Harrington and Alan Bowhay ANL-150303-064438009
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A ‘health passport’ aimed at improving care for the disabled should be rolled out across the UK, say a family who helped Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital develop it.

Sandra Bowhay, who had spina-bifida from birth and used a wheelchair, died at the hospital in September 2013 following multiple health problems.

Since then, her widower, Alan, and sister-in-law Samantha Harrington have lobbied hospital bosses to improve care for wheelchair users, such as Sandra, and other disabled people, after seeing the problems she had to go through to obtain treatment.

Mr Bowhay, who lives in Swaffham, said that once she was expected to climb out of her wheelchair on to an X-ray bed, which she could not do.

He said: “It’s good that there is now something in place.”

And Mrs Harrington said she has contacted both her local MP, George Freeman, and care minister and North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb to urge the Government to take up the practice.

She added: “We want every hospital in the country to use it. We don’t want anyone else to have the experiences we had.”

The document, which was introduced by the hospital in January, is divided into three sections, which are coloured red, amber and green in a traffic light system.

The red section covers things staff must know about the individual patient, such as their personal details, their GP, health risks, what medication they take and how it should be administered.

The amber section is for things staff should know, such as whether the patient has any sight or hearing problems, how they eat and drink and their sleeping patterns.

And the green section covers the patient’s likes and dislikes, ranging from food to activities.

The passport has been adapted from similar schemes devised at trusts in London, Cambridgeshire and Gloucestershire.

Catherine Morgan, the QEH’s director of nursing, said: “The passport is a simple way of ensuring that crucial patient information is easily accessible at all times in one place.

“It helps ensure both patients’ and carers’ wishes are taken into account from the moment they begin to receive care.

“We pride ourselves on our standards of patient care and are always looking at ways to further improve. Working with patients, relatives and carers is just one way in which we seek to do this.”