A 68-year-old man was discharged from hospital...with an 39-year-old woman's records.

The man, from Colchester, who does not want to be named, was admitted to Colchester General Hospital on June 19 for a fall at home.

He had an overnight observation following an admission from A&E, and was discharged the next day.

Discharge day did not go well for him. His wife waited an hour before finding out his discharge papers still needed to be signed off by a doctor.

He added: "After two hours of waiting, we again asked when the discharge papers would be available and were advised they were still waiting for sign off.

"At this stage I was starting to feel extremely anxious, this not being helped by Parkinson's symptoms.

"After three and a half hours, my wife asked again, and advised the staff on duty that if they were not ready we would be leaving and they could post them to us. At which point the nurse produced a crumpled piece of paper from his pocket and advised they had the appropriate sign off."

However when the couple got home to look at the papers, they realised they had been given the records for another patient - a 39-year-old woman.

He made an official complaint to the hospital, and later received a letter from Emma Sweeney, associate director of nursing for medicine and emergency care.

She said the hospital is now reviewing the discharge procedure.

The Gazette has seen a copy of her letter, which says the incorrect document he received had been sent to the Emergency Assessment Unit printer, from the Surgical Assessment Unit next door.

The letter was picked up by the nurse discharging the man, as he had sent his documents to the same printer.

The letter said: "This is no excuse since the nurse should have read the letter he collected to confirm it had your correct details prior to placing it in an envelope and giving it to you.

"I have spoken to the ward clerk for SAU and requested that in future, until they receive their own printer, any information for printing needs to be via the 'follow print' programme which would mean the printer is unable to print any requests without the person scanning their ID badge.

"This will make sure no letters are printed out without a person standing next to the printer."

Th letter said the man's documents were safe and had been sent to him.

It added: "I'm sorry that your experience was not to the standards I expect from my team and this has been discussed at the morning briefings with staff to ensure they are all reminded to check details."