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Ombudsman rules Fife hospital did not treat girl’s illness seriously enough

Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy.
Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy.

NHS Fife has apologised to a mum who complained about the treatment provided to her daughter at the Victoria Hospital.

She took her complaint to the Scottish ombudsman who asked the board to say sorry for its failure to provide appropriate nursing care and clinical treatment. She also asked NHS Fife to make changes “to put things right in future”.

The woman, identified only as Mrs C, claimed that when she arrived at the hospital with her daughter a nurse was “unwelcoming” and did not acknowledge how ill the child was.

She said nursing staff did not carry out appropriate observations during the admission process.

The mum also complained her daughter was not thoroughly examined and a diagnosis of viral infection was made without medical staff fully considering her symptoms and condition.

Taking independent advice, the ombudsman found nursing staff did not provide the youngster with appropriate nursing care, with failings in taking observations, record keeping and using the Children’s Early Warning Score chart.

“We found that national guidance on children with fever was not appropriately followed by nursing staff,” it added.

“We also found that, while the examinations carried out by clinical staff were appropriate, they did not give enough consideration to the possibility of a serious illness.”

Both aspects of the complaint were upheld. The ombudsman made recommendations, including ensuring paediatric nursing staff are knowledgeable in undertaking assessments.

In addition, parents should be given written information on warning symptoms if a child with fever is discharged without diagnosis.

Clinical staff should consider the possibility a child with symptoms of a viral infection may have a more serious illness.

Chief executive Paul Hawkins said NHS Fife had apologised and reiterated that apology, adding the ombudsman was satisfied recommendations had been acted upon.

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