Patient died after 'unreasonable' delays to pancreatic cancer treatment

NHS Lothian has been ordered by a watchdog to apologise to a patient's spouse for the delays to their partner's treatment.

NHS Lothian ordered to apologise after cancer patient dies after ‘unreasonable’ treatment delays iStock

An NHS board has been ordered to apologise after cancer patient died following “unreasonable” delays to their treatment.

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) has instructed NHS Lothian to apologise to the patient’s spouse, referred to as “C” to protect their anonymity.

C complained about the care and treatment provided to their late spouse, referred to as A, after they were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

C was unhappy with the delays with A’s treatment and said that these prevented A from receiving any treatment before their death.

The board responded to the claims saying that their intention was to treat the cancer and that A was required to meet with a consultant to assess their fitness for surgery.

However, the consultant meeting was delayed to allow the health board to carry out two multidisciplinary meetings.

NHS Lothian also said they had waited for some of A’s symptoms to improve, and for other investigations and procedures to be carried out.

The board did admit that there were delays to A’s PET-CT scan due to failures in the drug production, and said when this happens there is no back-up facility in Scotland to provide replacement batches.

The watchdog upheld C’s complaint after finding that the timeframe of A’s treatment could have been improved even with the allowable days from the PET-CT scan.

The SPSO found that the investigations carried out on the patient were reasonable but added the length of the pathway could have been improved.

They found that length of time it took the board to offer chemotherapy to patient A was unreasonable.

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