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Man gets locked in Brandon building

PUBLISHED: 09:20 14 January 2010 | UPDATED: 21:52 07 July 2010

Brian Higgins.

Brian Higgins.

A PATIENT who was locked in a Brandon building for more than hour after staff went home for the Christmas holidays discovered he was sent to the wrong place by the NHS.

A PATIENT who was locked in a Brandon building for more than hour after staff went home for the Christmas holidays discovered he was sent to the wrong place by the NHS.

Brian Higgins was referred to the Brandon Health Centre, on Bury Road, by Newmarket hospital after a routine operation on December 16. He arrived at the follow up appointment on Christmas Eve to find two girls on reception at the Starburst Dental Centre, which occupies the same building, who directed him upstairs. They then locked up the building a few minutes later and went home for the holidays.

Mr Higgins, 48, found himself locked in the building for an hour and a half while he sought to find a way out.

“I rang up the number on the appointment sheet which was a dead line,” he said. “Then I rang the hospital and said what was happening.

“They asked where I was and I told them and they said I was in the wrong place. Then I rang the Thetford Health Centre up and asked if they could give me a phone number.

“I gave her the one that was on the bit of paper and she said it was the old cottage hospital.”

Mr Higgins was eventually able to attract the attention of two girls outside.

“They said they worked upstairs and didn't have a key but could see if their manager did,” Mr Higgins added. “That's what happened and eventually I got out but I'm gobsmacked that it happened.”

Mr Higgins was supposed to be at the Heathcote Health Centre on the other side of town but was given the wrong address by Newmarket hospital.

An NHS Suffolk spokesman said: “We greatly regret the distress and inconvenience suffered by Mr Higgins. This should never happen, and he has our unreserved apology.

“It seems that we made a clerical error on the letter of referral, and we are looking into exactly what went wrong to make sure it doesn't happen again.”

The matter has now been referred by the Starburst Dental Clinic to the Brandon Health Centre and Mr Higgins is waiting for a response.

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