Patient told to stay at home due to coronavirus pandemic receives letter by mistake

The Riverside Practice in March. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

The Riverside Practice in March. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS - Credit: Archant

A medical practice in March accidentally sent letters to one of its patients who they believed were ‘at high risk’ of catching the coronavirus.

The letter accidentally sent by the Riverside Practice to one of its patients. Picture: SUPPLIED

The letter accidentally sent by the Riverside Practice to one of its patients. Picture: SUPPLIED - Credit: Archant

The Riverside Practice on Marylebone Road told one of its patients who they believed to be at most risk of catching the disease due to having an underlying health condition to stay at home for at least 12 weeks.

The letter, written on March 25, also advises its patients to avoid all contact apart from with carers and healthcare workers during the 12-week period.

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It said: “The NHS has identified you, or the named person you care for, as someone at risk of severe illness if you catch Coronavirus.

“This is because you have an underlying disease or health condition that means if you catch the virus, you are more likely to be admitted to hospital than others.”

The letter continued: “The safest course of action is for you to stay at home at all times and avoid all face-to-face contact for at least twelve weeks, except from carers and healthcare workers who you must see as part of your medical care.”

Yesterday (April 2), that patient received a text message from practice manager Helen Lattaway telling him to “disregard the ‘at risk’ letter”.

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The message read: “Due to an error in the reports provided to use, patients who do not meet the criteria have received this letter in error.

“We apologise for any undue stress and inconvenience this may have caused. Wishing you our best intentions at all times. Thanks, Helen Lattaway.”

Although the patient is frustrated with the mistake, he said that he understands the strain the NHS are under as it is “unchartered territory”.

However, the patient’s wife said she is worried when he does return to work because of the error.

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She said: “We looked at his medication and one of them listed a small chance that his immune system could be compromised, so we didn’t question it. Now I’m worried he’s going back to work!

“It’s better for too many letters to be sent than too few.”

It is not known how many other patients have received the same letter by mistake. The Riverside Practice has been contacted for comment.

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