NHS Lothian chiefs have apologized to the family of a deceased patient who faced an ‘unreasonable delay’ for his medication after a GP forgot his prescription pad during a visit to residence.
An investigation by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO), a government watchdog which holds local authorities accountable, has upheld complaints against the area’s health board and issued recommendations.
The patient – designated only ‘A’ in a recently published report – was diagnosed with a lung infection during an out-of-hours consultation with a GP on the unscheduled care ward run by NHS Lothian .
READ MORE: Edinburgh Council appointments delayed after meeting lasted just 10 minutes
After learning that the infection could be treated with Co-amoxiclav, a type of antibiotic, the visiting doctor realized he was not carrying the drug in his vehicle. And the mediator noted that the general practitioner “had attended the consultation without a prescription book”.
The report stated that the practitioner “then arranged for A’s prescription to be faxed to a pharmacy on his return to base to be provided to A the following day.”
However, the next day was a public holiday and the pharmacy was closed, resulting in a 48-hour wait for the patient to receive emergency medication.
NHS Lothian later apologized for ‘the distress this has caused A and his family’ and said it ‘cannot explain why the GP showed up without a prescription pad’ .
Staff were reminded “to ensure that prescription pads were checked before making home visits and that prescriptions were only faxed to pharmacies that could supply medication in a timely manner”.
But the SPSO said the recall was “insufficient to ensure that a similar event will not happen again”.
The health board also confirmed that it was “developing a checklist system and a written policy and protocol outlining the checks that staff should complete at the start of each shift before commencing home visits.” home,” the ombudsman said. “likely to be appropriate to deal with the issues raised in this case”.
The SPSO added: “We took the independent advice of a GP. We found that it had been unreasonable for the GP to attend the consultation without a prescription pad and not to ensure that the antibiotics required by A were available to them earlier on the basis of A.’s presentation in consultation.”
In summary, the watchdog ruled that A – who has since died – had not received ‘reasonable care and treatment’ and ordered NHS Lothian to issue an apology to their child, who complained.
He said that in future, out-of-hours GPs “should be in possession of all required equipment before the start of each shift”.
He added: “Where a patient’s clinical presentation necessitates the prescription of medication, out-of-hours GPs should take all reasonable steps to ensure that there is unlikely to be any undue delay. in the provision of the prescription to the patient.”
The health board was asked to provide the ombudsman with evidence that they have implemented the recommendations.
Jenny Long, Director of Primary Care, NHS Lothian, said: “I would like to publicly reiterate our apologies to A’s family for the shortcomings in this matter. We have accepted the Ombudsman’s report and we take the recommendations to the serious As part of this, we have already implemented a new policy and protocol as well as a checklist system to ensure that something similar does not happen again.
Sign up for Edinburgh Live newsletters for more headlines straight to your inbox