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Thursday, 31 August 2017

Health board apologises over 'significant failings' in case of woman who died of cancer

Written by The Press Association

A health board has apologised for " unreasonable delays" in the treatment of a woman who later died of cancer.

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) identified "significant failings" in the way the case was handled by the Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS board acute services division.

The unnamed woman's husband complained about her care and treatment following a diagnosis of bladder cancer in April 2015.

The complaint related to delays in providing vital appointments and in treating the cancer after she suffered a heart attack in July that year.

The cancer was found to have spread to the woman's lungs in February 2016 and she died in May that year.

An SPSO investigation found there were "unreasonable delays" between appointments, a delay in the woman being provided with treatment and "multiple failings" in communication between specialists.

The report also said treatment options were not fully discussed with the woman and there was a further delay in her being offered palliative radiotherapy, which could have helped to reduce the pain she suffered.

However, the SPSO concluded it was likely the woman would still have died as the disease progression was likely to have already occurred by December 2015, the earliest surgery could have been carried out after the heart attack.

The ombudsman also found the board had failed to address some important questions raised by the woman's husband in his complaint.

In addition to an apology, the SPSO made a series of recommendations for the health board to improve their handling of similar cases.

In a statement, the health board said it accepted the recommendations in full and was taking the necessary action.

"We have already reviewed the pathway available to bladder cancer patients to improve the services available and the co-ordination of care, and this has been shared with relevant staff," it said.

"We have also highlighted the areas where the patient's care and treatment fell below expected levels to the relevant staff groups.

"We will now write to the family once again offering our apologies for the failings with this patient's care."

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