NHS Tayside has been cleared of leaving a female patient in severe and debilitating pain for more than 18 months because of complacency.
The patient’s father, known as Mr C, raised concerns with the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman about the care and treatment received by his daughter (Ms A) at Perth Royal Infirmary and Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.
Mr C claimed there was a protracted period of complacency by the staff involved in his daughter’s care.
At the time of the complaint to the ombudsman Mr C stated Ms A had been experiencing severe and debilitating pain for more than 18 months.
The report read: “A number of diagnoses had been suggested, and while treatments were ongoing, no single definitive cause had been found for her pain and other related symptoms.
“Mr C said that the medical team had ruled out endometriosis (a condition where cells similar to those that line the womb lie outside it) without adequate investigation or involving a colorectal surgeon.”
In response to the complaint, the board apologised for the delays and the lack of communication between departments.
The board explained the reasons for and outcomes of the various tests that had been arranged, along with organising further clinical review for Ms A.
The ombudsman stated they took advice from three specialist clinical advisers a gynaecologist, a gastroenterologist and a radiologist.
The radiologist said that a scan had been incorrectly interpreted, as it did not show evidence of endometriosis.
However, he did not consider this to be a major error of judgment requiring further action.
While the ombudsman identified confusion over referrals and delays in arranging treatment, their advisers said the tests and treatments offered were all appropriate in light of what was known at the time.
The SPSO said: “On balance, we did not uphold Mr C’s complaint as we found that although there were some errors in Ms A’s care, no department had acted unreasonably and there were no serious failings.”
The ombudsman recommended the board apologise for the failings identified, and also that they reflect on the potential role of multi-disciplinary team meetings in complex cases such as Ms A’s, and consider how this might be embedded into clinical practice.