NHS Borders has apologised to family of cancer patient

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A complaint about cancer treatment given to a patient at Borders General Hospital has been partially upheld by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.

NHS Borders has apologised for communication failings during Mr A’s final hospital admission.

Mrs C made the complaint on behalf of her father who was treated with radiotherapy for cancer of the tongue. She claimed that they failed to respond to Mr A’s mouth pain, malnutrition and weight loss, as well as infections in his mouth and she raised concerns about communication during two hospital admissions.

The Ombudsman said: “We found that when Mr A’s care was referred back to the board, the referral was not actioned properly, which meant that Mr A did not receive any speech and language therapy support for about a year. We also found there were failings in communication during Mr A’s final hospital admission. However, we found no evidence that Mr A was given incorrect information during his May 2014 admission.”

They recommended that NHS Borders apologises for the failings identified, improves referral procedures and communication with patients and families, and reviews processes for joined up post-treatment care.

Responding to the report Erica Reid, director of hospital care with NHS Borders, said: “We have taken on board the recommendations from the SPSO report and actions have been taken so that similar experiences should be avoided in the future.

“The quality of care that Mr A received was unacceptable and not of the standard we expect for our patients. We are sincerely sorry for the effect this has had on both Mr A and his family.”