Sunderland hospital bosses say sorry to toddler’s family over appointment delay

Sunderland Royal Hospital, where the boy was treated.
Sunderland Royal Hospital, where the boy was treated.
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A health trust has apologised to the family of a toddler, who developed glue ear and speech problems, after an appointment into his care was not arranged by staff.

The mum of the two-year-old took her son to Sunderland Royal Hospital in spring 2013 after noticing that he had difficulty eating and was snoring at night.

We apologised to the family and provided a remedy and further training.

City Hospitals Sunderland spokesman

The youngster was referred to a specialist in the hospital’s ear, nose and throat (ENT) department, after which he was considered for surgery on his adenoids, the small tissue at the back of the nose.

The operation however did not happen, as the child was found to have little adenoid tissue.

A report prepared by the Health Service Ombudsman found that the child should then have had a follow-up appointment eight weeks later, but due to an administrative error it was delayed for several months.

The child then developed glue ear and speech delay.

The boy’s mother complained to the watchdog about the failure to arrange another appointment sooner and also criticised how her complaint was handled.

The ombudsman, however, decided not to uphold the complaint, saying “there was no evidence to suggest that the delay in booking a follow-up appointment resulted in the boy’s additional medical conditions”.

The case was one of 120 whose details were released today as part of an investgation into the effect that public service failures can have on the public.

As well as apologising, the member of staff responsible was identified and has had to undergo training.

A spokesman for City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust said: “The Ombudsman did not uphold the case, although we acknowledged a delay in a follow-up appointment, due to an administrative error.

“We apologised to the family and provided a remedy and further training.

“Although we seek to avoid all such incidents, where they do occur, we feed back the detail and findings into our development programmes, to ensure that our service is constantly monitored and upgraded accordingly.”