‘Failings’ found in care at Western Sussex Hospitals Foundation Trust

Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Failings in a patient’s care and staff record keeping at a hospital have been identified by a government watchdog.

A man who had a ‘shadow in his right eye’ complained he was sent away from A&E at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundaton Trust in 2012 without a proper examination.

An opthalmology expert recommended he should be seen by an optician and staff made an appointment for him at the eye clinic – but failed to tell the patient.

However he went to another hospital after his condition got worse – and was told his vision was deteriorating as a result of high blood pressure.

For confidentiality reasons, the man is referred to only as Mr Y in the report by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

Investigators intervened when Mr Y complained to the Ombudsman about his care and the opthalmologist’s failure to examine him.

A report said: “He believed that if he had had an appropriate ophthalmologic review, his high blood pressure would have been noticed.”

Mr Y asked the trust, which runs St Richard’s and Worthing Hospitals, for the opthalmologist’s name but were unable to identify him.

The report said: “We partly upheld this complaint.

“There were failings in the care trust staff gave Mr Y when he went to A&E in summer 2012. There were also failings in the trust’s record keeping.

The report adds Mr Y could not refer the incident to the GMC because the nurse did not document the opthalmologist’s name.

However the report said earlier treatment of Mr Y’s blood pressure would not have led to a better outcome.

The report said: “The trust wrote to Mr Y acknowledging and apologising for the impact of its failings.

“It also agreed to prepare an action plan to describe what it had done or planned to do, to make sure that it had learnt from its failings in record keeping and its failure to ensure that Mr Y received appropriate medical review.”

Maggie Davies, deputy director of patient safety said the trust ‘fully cooperates’ with any investigation by the Ombudsman.

“We take any complaint extremely seriously and do our utmost to resolve any issues personally, inviting patients and families in to discuss their concerns directly with our clinicians,” she said.

“However, we also welcome investigations by the Ombudsman and the important learning that can put in place following an independent clinical review.”

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