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Health board criticised over seriously late cancer diagnosis

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

A health board in Scotland has been criticised after it was discovered that it took over a year to inform a patient that he was dying of cancer. The patient, who remains anonymous, was given a scan in 2012 after having a tumour removed from his bowel. Despite the scan clearly showing that the cancer had spread, he was not informed of this until 2013. The patient died ten months later.

The Scottish Public Service Ombudsman raised concerns that this situation would repeat itself in NHS Lanarkshire. The ombudsman said: “I found that a combination of errors and inadequate systems resulted in a failure to assess and refer Mr A for treatment of his cancer.” He continued to state that the board had failed to investigate the handling of the scan and test results, suggesting a “general failure of results gathering and scrutiny by the board.

“…will ensure action is taken”

The health board said that it accepted the ombudsman’s findings and said that the patient’s family would be contacted with its sincerest apologies. Irene Barkby, Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions, said: “We fully accept the ombudsman’s recommendations and will ensure action is taken to address the issues that have been raised.” She said that staff throughout the entire health trust would be made aware of these failings, so they do not happen again. She added that they would also be going through their clinical governance arrangements.

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