Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

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  • Report number:
  • Date:
    May 2011
  • Body:
    Ayrshire and Arran NHS Board
  • Sector(s):
  • Keywords:
    Communication; complaints handling; record-keeping 18 May 2011 201001180

The complainant (Mrs C) raised a number of concerns regarding the treatment that her father (Mr A) received following admission to Ayr Hospital (the Hospital). Mrs C complained that staff of Ayrshire and Arran NHS Board (the Board) failed to explain the severity of Mr A's condition to family members and that, as a result of this, his family were not with him at his bedside when he died. Mrs C raised further complaints regarding the condition that Mr A's body was in when the family were allowed in to see him and the Board's handling of her formal complaint.

Specific complaints and conclusions
The complaints which have been investigated are that:

  • (a) the Board failed to explain properly the nature of Mr A's condition to his family (upheld);
  • (b) the Board failed to allow family members access to Mr A during the final hours of his life (upheld);
  • (c) the Board failed to respect Mr A's dignity (upheld);
  • (d) information provided by the Board in response to Mrs C's complaint was inaccurate (upheld); and
  • (e) the clinical records were inaccurate (not upheld).


Redress and recommendations
The Ombudsman recommends that the Board:

  • (i) review their procedures for handing over the care of patients between consultants, with a view to ensuring that all relevant information has been shared with family members;
  • (ii) review the communication between the consultants and nursing staff in Mr A's case, with a view to identifying any failures in communication from consultant to nurse to family members;
  • (iii) give further consideration to Mrs C's comments on the presentation of Mr A's body and take such steps as they feel appropriate to prevent similar upset in the future;
  • (iv) take steps to ensure that advice provided to patients' family members is accurately recorded in the clinical records; and
  • (v) take steps to ensure that statements relied upon to respond to complaints are checked against documented evidence for accuracy.

Download report number 201001180 as a PDF (75.43 KB)

Updated: May 20, 2013