Two complaints against NHS Borders were heard by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman this month.
The first involved a complaint about the clinical treatment given and the manner of the consultant involved; the second was a complaint about a delay in treatment.
Mr and Mrs C complained that a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Borders General Hospital “unreasonably decided” that Mrs C should undergo a caesarean section. After independent advice the Ombudsman concluded that “it had been reasonable for her consultant to hold the view that Mrs C should undergo a caesarean section at that time, even if this conflicted with advice she had received from other medical staff who had been prepared to allow her to wait slightly longer.”
That complaint was not upheld but the complaint about the manner of the consultant was upheld, a statement from a midwife corroborating their view “that the consultant’s communication with the couple had not been reasonable and had lacked empathy”.
“Whilst we upheld the complaint, we were satisfied that the board had apologised to Mr and Mrs C,” said the Ombudsman report.
“They had also stated that this had been raised with the consultant and that the complaint would be included in his annual appraisal.”
The second complaint against NHS Borders was brought by a patient who was dissatisfied with the delays in surgery going ahead.
Mrs C said she had been in pain for a long time and had difficulty walking, but after reviewing her case the Ombudsman did not uphold the complaint.
“We took independent advice from an adviser who is a specialist surgeon,” said the Ombudsman.
“We found that there were appropriate medical reasons initially why Mrs C’s surgical procedure could not go ahead.
“We concluded that there was good reason on patient safety grounds for a comprehensive review to be carried out before offering the surgical procedure.”
NHS Borders had apologised to Mrs C that the 12 week treatment time guarantee had not been met but the Ombudsman accepted that it was an unusual procedure and there were exceptional circumstances for this and the risks, complications and outcomes of the procedure needed to be properly reviewed.