Watford General Hospital has been singled out by a health minister as a “shocking” example of poor organisation in the NHS.

Speaking on a national radio programme, Jeremy Hunt described how he’d witnessed staff at the hospital struggle to help a vulnerable patient because the medical records system was not “joined-up”.

The MP for South West Surrey highlighted the case of an elderly woman with dementia who had been admitted while he was visiting its A&E department earlier this month.

Following the health minister’s comments, West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which oversees the hospital, said it was tendering for a new IT system to help improve the situation.

Speaking on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme yesterday (Thursday), Mr Hunt said: “I was in Watford A&E, for example, the week before last, and a lady came in – an older lady in her eighties – who had come from a dementia care home.

“She had bruises all over her face, was unable to speak and the shocking thing was that in that A&E department they knew nothing about her because we don’t have a joined up system.” Mr Hunt visited the hospital with MP Richard Harrington on Thursday, April 11, to do a shift in the A&E deparment.

Responding to his comments, Samantha Jones, chief executive of the trust, said it was clear Mr Hunt had found the visit “very useful and informative”.

She said: “The trust’s recent decision to go out to tender for a new ICT service valued at £30-50 million is a key step in an important programme of work which will bring new technologies across the trust.

“It will help support agile working, eliminate paper, enable service transformation and reduce administrative overheads. We want our clinical staff to be supported by high-quality ICT services so they can spend more time with patients and give our non-clinical staff the technology and services to work more efficiently.

“Providing a safe, high quality service for our patients is our number one priority. We are always looking at new ways of working and I have recently launched ‘Operation Onion’, which is all about doing the right thing for our patients by peeling back the layers.

This has brought about some immediate changes which are helping to ensure patients are treated quickly, efficiently and correctly, first time.”