NHS board ordered to pay patient’s costs after ‘unacceptable’ scan delay

A health board has been ordered to pay the costs of private treatment after an “unacceptable delay” in arranging a patient’s scan.

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman has told Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board to refund a patient after she waited 10 months for a scan.

The woman, known as Ms C, complained to the watchdog after seeking treatment abroad.

She was referred to the former Southern General Hospital in Glasgow by her GP for a scan to investigate infertility, which took 10 months to arrange.

The patient said the board then could not provide an appointment to discuss her results or tell her when she might be able to get one, despite her suffering severe abdominal pain.

She arranged for a private treatment overseas by a consultant gynaecologist, who reviewed her results, carried out tests and recommended a laparoscopy – a exploratory procedure to find out if she had endometrosis.

The woman asked Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board to carry out the procedure but they refused and she had it abroad, receiving a diagnosis of endometrosis.

She then had surgery abroad to treat and cure her symptoms.

In a report, the ombudsman upheld her complaint against the health board, saying there was an “unacceptable delay” arranging the scan.

The report added: “Based on the clinical advice we received, we were satisfied that the board should have offered Ms C a laparoscopy to provide the definitive diagnosis.”

The ombudsman also criticised the board’s inability to find and hand over the patient’s complete clinical records.

The watchdog has recommended the board apologise to the patient for the delay in arranging the scan, failure to offer her a laparoscopy and for “losing her medical records”.

A further recommendation tells the board to “refund to Ms C the invoiced cost of her ultrasound scan, laparoscopy and associated treatment arranged abroad”.

A spokeswoman for the health board said: “We have received the ombudsman’s report and fully accept the recommendations.

“We have previously written to the patient offering our sincere apologies for the failings identified with her care and will now make arrangements to reimburse her for the cost of her surgery abroad.

“We have already put in place an action plan and as a direct result of the issue raised by this patient on her medical notes, our health records team have taken the opportunity to reiterate to all our staff the importance of tracering (tracking) case records at all times.

“We will also provide a report to the ombudsman to demonstrate that we have addressed his recommendations fully.”

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