Clinical treatment in hospital
Hywel Dda University Health Board
Ms P complained that, following her referral to Gynaecology in 2020 and during her subsequent admissions to hospital, the Health Board failed to investigate and treat the cause of her ongoing pelvic pain promptly and appropriately. She also complained that the Health Board did not communicate appropriately with her about the results of relevant investigations and her resultant care plan, and that it did not provide an accurate and appropriate response to her formal complaint.
The Ombudsman found that Ms P was assessed and treated appropriately each time she was seen; in the absence of any identified cause for Ms P’s pain, it was appropriate for management of her care to focus on addressing her symptoms. Exploratory and diagnostic surgery might reveal something more, but this was unavailable following the outbreak of COVID-19. The Ombudsman also found that Ms P was told that her investigation results were normal, advised to return if her pain escalated again, and informed of the Consultant’s plan to manage her pain symptoms in the meantime. Ultimately, as Ms P’s investigation results were normal no further action was required, and both her treatment and the level of communication offered were within the bounds of appropriate clinical practice.
Lastly, the Ombudsman found that the Health Board’s complaint response was compatible with his findings, and was therefore appropriate. However, there were discrepancies between the complaint response and the sequence of events reflected in Ms P’s records, which undermined Ms P’s faith in the Health Board at a time when she was already concerned because the cause of her pain had not been identified. The Health Board agreed to apologise to Ms P for this, and to remind relevant staff of the importance of accuracy in its complaint responses.