NHS Borders apologise to Knoll patient

The Knoll hospital and health centre, Station Road, Duns
The Knoll hospital and health centre, Station Road, Duns

NHS Borders has apologised to a patient admitted to Borders General Hospital and the Knoll Hospital in Duns after the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) upheld a complaint against them.

The case involved Mrs C who was admitted to the BGH, then the Knoll Hospital after an accident. She was given pain relief at the scene of the accident and taken to the BGH where a mix-up over patient details led staff to try and give medication meant for another patient to Ms C. She also believed she was given an overdose of morphine.

Ms C was transferred to the Knoll the following month, where she said nursing staff were “institutionalised in their attitudes” and treated her as if she was an elderly patient. She discharged herself.

Following advice from a nursing adviser SPSO concluded that pain charts were not used properly at the BGH to manage Ms C’s pain and although she was known to the pain team they were not alerted for four days.

Upholding the complaint SPSO said: “We were concerned that the patient details were incorrect. This was rectified and did not result in any medication errors, but could have had serious consequences.

“We were satisfied that the nursing care was reasonable, and were satisfied Ms C was not given an overdose of morphine. However, in light of the failings identified, we upheld the complaint.

They recommended that as well as apologising, the board review how pain is assessed and monitored in the BGH and outline steps taken to ensure patient details are correct.

An NHS Borders spokesperson said: “We accept the recommendations in the SPSO report and have written and apologised to the patient for any distress caused by these events.

“We have assured the Ombudsman that we fully recognise, and regret, the aspects of the patient’s treatment and complaint handling which did not meet expected standards and will take what has been learned from this to improve our service in future.”