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Kings Hill father Marvin Dyke fears drug firm Healthcare at Home's error could have killed him after medicine muddle

By Helen Fairley

A Kings Hill father says he was put in a life-or-death situation when a drugs delivery company sent him the wrong medication.

Marvin Dyke, of Charlotte Drive, suffers from Ankylosing Spondylitius (AS), an extremely painful chronic arthritis.

He relies on monthly £1,600 injections of a new drug that blocks the action of the molecule that causes inflammation.

Patient Marvin Dyke has been having ongoing problems with delivery of his drugs

It is vital he takes it on the same day each month, or his body will start building up immunity.

But since September, when private company Healthcare at Home took over the contract for delivering medication for the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (MTW), the married 36-year-old says he has experienced nothing but problems.

Mr Dyke - father to Benjamin, eight, and six-year-old Alessia - has a list of complaints regarding missed deliveries. And on one occasion, he was involved in a four-hour telephone battle to find out what was going on.

"We are currently talking to the patient and we regret any anxiety and inconvenience caused..." - Ruth Poole, Healthcare at Home

But just when he thought the situation could not get worse, Mr Dyke says Healthcare at Home made a potentially deadly error. Instead of delivering his usual two injections, he was sent three.

When he called the company's nursing support line, he claims he was reassured the delivery was correct and that he should inject all three.

But, because another name also appeared on the packaging, Mr Dyke was still suspicious and called Maidstone Hospital for advice.

"I was told that on no circumstances should I inject the third one," he said, adding during a later conversation he was informed it could have been life threatening if he had.

When he went back to Healthcare at Home, Mr Dyke says a representative suggested he 'popped' the rogue package round to the correct recipient whose address he now had.

"I couldn't believe it," he said, shocked by the "lax attitude" towards patient confidentiality.

People are being warned of risks associated with overusing antibiotics

The bungle is one of a number of complaints that has led to MTW suspending new referrals to Healthcare at Home.

A spokesman said: "Patients who currently receive their drugs through this company will continue to do so.

"We take claims of this nature very seriously and have forwarded the details to Healthcare at Home who are making their own inquiries."

Ruth Poole, Healthcare at Home group clinical director, said: "While we cannot comment on individual cases, patient safety is a priority and we take any reported incident seriously.

"When an incident is reported, we will always seek to discuss it with the patient and their local hospital to ensure it is resolved quickly.

"We are currently talking to the patient and we regret any anxiety and inconvenience caused."

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