Patient privacy breaches have been hitting the headlines. The infamous ‘eel’ x-ray in Auckland led to staff dismissals, and spying on cricket star Jesse Ryder’s clinical notes resulted in four clinicians facing disciplinary action. Nurse-turned-lawyer ROBIN KAY looks at the legal and ethical issues for nurses around accessing patient records – particularly now that unauthorised reading of a file leaves an ‘electronic fingerprint’.
‘Bed block’ in the general medicine department was identified as a one of the reasons why patients in the emergency department had a long wait to be admitted to a general medicine ward. The average waiting time for admission was over 10 hours, and once admitted, patients’ length of stay could often be longer than necessary.