NHS Ayrshire and Arran has been ordered to apologise to an assault victim, after doctors refused to perform reconstructive surgery on them.
The patient, known only as C to protect their identity, had a history of multiple facial trauma and had undergone various procedures on their nose and face over the last ten years.
C then received further injuries, which caused further damage to their nose – but complained that the board refused to perform any further investigation or the reconstructive surgery C believed was required.
This was despite numerous GP referrals to the ear, nose and throat (ENT) department, the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) was told.
The patient continued to suffer ongoing pain and symptoms as a result of the injuries.
They complained to the SPSO that the board was acting on the basis of a psychological assessment from many years ago, which suggested investigation and treatment could be damaging to them.
C “strongly objected” to this assessment, leading the SPSO to consult an ENT surgeon.
The watchdog found that it was reasonable for the board to take into consideration the psychiatric assessment that warned against unnecessary investigations and treatment unless indicated on objective grounds.
However, it also considered the amount of time since that assessment was produced – as well as the fact C had been assaulted recently – and decided it was reasonable for C to be reassessed and upheld their complaint.
Alongside asking for an apology to C, the SPSO also noted failings in relation to how the complaint was handled by NHS Ayrshire and Arran and made a recommendation to address this.