NHS Highland apologises for care of premature baby

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A health board has apologised to a couple for the failings by hospital staff in the care and treatment of their unborn son, who later died.

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman said guidelines were not followed at a hospital in Wick during a diagnostic test to check the baby's health.

The parents were also denied the chance to hold the boy, who was born with a beating heart, before he died.

NHS Highland made an unreserved apology to the couple, who were not named.

The parents were said to be devastated by the poor standard of care, which also included not being told of a problem picked up during the amniocentesis diagnostic procedure, a test carried out during pregnancy to look for any problems with the baby.

The SPSO recommended improvements at Caithness General Hospital, and also Raigmore Hospital in Inverness which the couple had also complained about.

The recommendations included that staff at both hospitals were compliant with guidelines on amniocentesis.

NHS Highland's chief executive Elaine Mead said: "I offer my personal and unreserved apology and sincere condolences to the family for failing to provide the standards of care they required and the devastating impact this had on their lives.

"I will continue to lead and support colleagues to ensure, as far as possible, that something like this can not happen again."

Medical director Dr Ian Bashford added: "I would also like to offer my condolences to the family.

"We welcome the independent review by the ombudsman's office and fully accept the recommendations and will implement them.

"The care that we provided fell below the standard that we would expect and I would like to offer my sincere apologies for the distress that has caused."

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