NHS pays patient’s private surgery after ‘unreasonable delay’

NHS Fife should have carried out the operation as a high priority, the Ombudsman found.

NHS pays patient’s private surgery after ‘unreasonable delay’ iStock

A Scottish health board has been ordered to pay for a patient’s private surgery after failing to operate despite two emergency admissions and them being in “excruciating pain”.

NHS Fife apologised for the “unreasonable delay” in organising the gallbladder operation when it should have been carried out as a high priority.

The individual, referred to in a Scottish Public Services Ombudsman report as C, experienced “chronic and excruciating pain” after being taken into hospital twice.

A colorectal surgeon, advising the Ombudsman, said C should have been offered an early appointment for surgery once their inflammation had settled.

But instead, “due to an administrative error”, there was no follow-up appointment after the first emergency admission and C was put on the waiting list after the second admission with “no indication as to when their surgery would take place”.

The Ombudsman found that the cost of C’s private treatment was partly down “the board’s failings” and said that they should be reimbursed the value of the surgery at the amount it would have cost the board to perform the gallbladder removal.

NHS Fife director of nursing Janette Owens said: “Our aim is always to provide patients in Fife with the best possible care and treatment, however, in this instance we recognise that we fell short of these standards.

”We accept the findings of the Ombudsman and have enacted their recommendations, including apologising formally to the individual involved.

“Measures have also been put in place to limit the opportunity for the issue being repeated in future, particularly in more complex cases such as this.”

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