Hospital denies 'losing' drugs worth $130,000
By Alex Easton
CLAIMS Lismore Base Hospital lost about $130,000 worth of powerful drugs have been rejected by the North Coast Area Health Service.
A report by the NSW Auditor-General released yesterday, said about $130,000 worth of drugs were lost from the Lismore Base Hospital in the 2006-07 financial year, suggesting some may have been items under the ‘Schedule 8’ category, which includes powerfully addictive drugs such as morphine.
The report said the health service failed to immediately tell the director general of health, which it was required to do, although ‘appropriate officers’ were later notified.
North Coast Area Health Service chief executive Chris Crawford denied any Schedule 8 drugs had vanished, but confirmed the hospital had misplaced more than $400 worth of Panadeine Forte – a Schedule 4 drug – over the financial year.
Mr Crawford said the discrepancies picked up in the auditor general’s report were the result of a clash between the health service’s pharmaceutical and financial reporting software systems.
“An investigation following an external audit of the North Coast Area Health Service’s inventory systems in early 2007 showed that stock inventory errors were the cause, and not theft,” Mr Crawford said.
Mr Crawford said that investigation, which was done last year, had not been finished in time to be included in yesterday’s auditor general’s report.
The health service had since launched an overhaul of its stock control practices.
“All of the auditor general’s recommendations have been accepted and implemented,” Mr Crawford said.
Lismore MP Thomas George said the error highlighted management issues within NSW Health and pointed to the need for a Royal Commission into the health system.
“It adds to the need for a Royal Commission into the hospitals and their management; not just a commission controlled by the Iemma Government,” he said.