South Scotland

Patient care at Dumfries criticised by ombudsman

Dumfries hospital Image copyright Chris Newman

A Scottish health board has been criticised for the "inadequate level of care and treatment" of a patient suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

The Scottish Public Service Ombudsman (SPSO) upheld a series of complaints against NHS Dumfries and Galloway in relation to the woman's treatment.

A spokeswoman for the health board said the woman had an "unsatisfactory and disappointing" experience.

Chief executive Jeff Ace has "sincerely apologised", she added.

In its critical report, the ombudsman said the woman was in a confused state when she arrived at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary.

There was no evidence of any broken bones following a fall but it was decided to keep her in hospital until her mobility improved.

A few days later, she began vomiting. Suspecting a stomach bleed, medical staff proposed an internal examination to find the source.

She was fasted for the procedure, but it was delayed several times because of a lack of patient consent.

'Disappointing experience'

Her daughter complained about the delays. She said staff had been informed she had power of attorney for her mother and yet was never asked to provide consent.

She also raised concerns about hygiene, the monitoring of her mother's fluid intake and poor communication from staff.

The ombudsman said clear guidelines for obtaining consent had not been followed, record keeping in the case was very poor, and there was no proactive plan to discuss the patient's care with her daughter.

It was recommended that the board carry out a review of the procedures involved and identify any requirements for additional staff training.

The NHS Dumfries and Galloway spokeswoman said: "As requested by the SPSO, Jeff Ace, chief executive, wrote to the complainant in June 2015 and sincerely apologised for the unsatisfactory and disappointing experience of her mother whilst in our care during 2013.

"We are clear that this fell far short of the standard we aim to provide.

"We are currently working through the recommendations from the SPSO and have also committed to share our completed action plan with the complainant when we submit this to the SPSO next month."

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