Highlands & Islands

NHS Highland sorry for delays diagnosing woman's tumour

MRI scans Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman said an MRI scan should have been done sooner

NHS Highland has apologised for failures that delayed the diagnosis of a woman's brain tumour.

Over several months, she suffered seizures, was evaluated by a stroke team and had procedures carried out, including a CT scan and EEG test.

During one seizure she lost consciousness. Hospital staff believed epilepsy to be the cause, but seven months later the tumour was diagnosed.

A watchdog said an MRI scan of her brain should have been done sooner.

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) investigated a complaint made by the family of the woman, who has since died and has not been named.

The SPSO said NHS Highland's decision to start the woman on anti-epileptic medication was "appropriate".

But it added that the subsequent monitoring of the medication and her condition were "not reasonable".

The SPSO also said there was a delay in her receiving a follow-up appointment at a neurology clinic.

'Failures identified'

In a report on its investigation, the health watchdog said: "During our investigation, we took independent advice from a consultant neurologist.

"We found that, while some aspects of Mrs A's care and treatment were reasonable, there was an unreasonable delay in performing an MRI, a scan used to diagnose health conditions that affect organs, tissue and bone, of her brain.

"This should have been arranged within four weeks of Mrs A's admission after the loss of consciousness and seizures."

The woman was a patient of NHS Highland's Raigmore Hospital in Inverness and Nairn Hospital.

In a statement, the health board said: "We have already apologised to the patient's family for the way we handled this matter and would again like to sincerely apologise for the failures identified.

"We have reviewed the findings within the report and the recommendations will be shared with the professionals involved. We are also reviewing current practices."

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