Terry Raper who died at the NNUH seven days after being admitted. Hospital staff failed to tell his family he was there until a week in - hours before he died - by which point his sisters could not visit him in time. Photo submitted.

Norwich hospital brings in new guidelines over contacting next of kin after Mile Cross man’s death

Tuesday, February 5, 2013
9.53 AM

A hospital is set to introduce new rules about contacting patients’ next of kin after a family were not told for a week that their dying relative was in a ward.

The new guideline to contact the next of kin of patients at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) is being introduced in the wake of the death of retired Mile Cross bricklayer, Terry Raper.

As reported in the Evening News last September, the 66-year-old’s family were not told for a week that he was in the hospital.

This was despite requests from Mr Raper that his family should be informed.

It meant that his brother, Tony Lee, only just got to his bedside before he died, while his sisters and other family members could not make it in time.

A spokesman for the hospital said the guideline would “make it explicit” that next of kin must be contacted when a patient was in hospital in an emergency.

The hospital’s director of nursing, Emma McKay, said: “We always endeavour to let families know when their loved ones are admitted to hospital. This did not happen for Mr Raper and his family, and we want to improve our communications in future.”

It comes as Norfolk coroner William Armstong told the hospital to change its policy for dealing with patients’ families.

As reported in Saturday’s Evening News, the hospital did not tell the family of James Noble, 69, from Hingham that they would not attempt to revive him.