Clinical treatment in hospital
Upheld in whole or in part
Non-public interest report issued: complaint upheld
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board
Mr B complained about the care and treatment he received from the Health Board’s Urology department. In particular, Mr B complained that the Health Board cancelled a biopsy and discharged him without any communication about what would happen next, the urology department failed to provide him with appropriate and timely care and treatment for an abscess and the Health Board’s investigation of his complaint was inadequate.
The Ombudsman’s investigation found that the cancellation of Mr B’s biopsy was not justified. The cancellation was a service failure which led to an unnecessary delay in Mr B having a biopsy. This was an injustice and accordingly, the Ombudsman upheld this element of Mr B’s complaint. The investigation also found that there was no evidence of any communication with Mr B about the decision to cancel the biopsy, how his hypertension should be treated in the meantime and what he should expect to happen next. This was a further injustice.
The investigation also found that the decision not to drain Mr B’s abscess on 12 June was not clinically appropriate. The delay in drainage extended Mr B’s illness as he was left with a swollen leg and raised temperature. This caused Mr B distress which was an injustice and accordingly, the Ombudsman upheld this element of Mr B’s complaint.
Finally, the Ombudsman’s investigation found that the Health Board’s complaint response was insufficiently robust in addressing the concerns Mr B raised. The Health Board failed to adequately address the issues regarding the cancellation of the biopsy and did not provide any response to the issues raised around communication with Mr B following the cancelled biopsy. The Health Board’s complaint handling failings amount to maladministration and caused Mr B an injustice a she was left without sufficient answers to the concerns he raised. The Ombudsman upheld this element of Mr B’s complaint.
The Ombudsman recommended that the Health Board should apologise to Mr B, offer him a redress payment of £1500 and offer him the £140cost he incurred for a private consultation. He also recommended that the Health Board shares the report with the relevant clinical staff and confirms to the Ombudsman that the report has been used for critical reflection. Finally, the Ombudsman recommended that the Health Board reviews its processes for CT guided drainages of abscesses and provides the Ombudsman with evidence to demonstrate that relevant radiologists have the necessary competencies to carryout such a procedure, and if such a radiologist is not available, patients are able to be transferred in a timely manner to a different hospital to undergo the procedure.