A man accused north-east health service staff of leaving him “almost blind” due to a delayed appointment.
NHS Grampian has apologised and said the care provided was “not what it should have been”.
After the man, who has not been named, made a formal complaint, a watchdog said “it was difficult to determine” why his sight deteriorated, but as well as recommending NHS Grampian apologise to him, it also said it should change its system to avoid a repeat in future.
Board bosses say they have apologised and will implement the recommendations.
According to a new report from the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) watchdog, the man had a routine screening appointment at a health centre which found he had diabetic retinopathy – a condition that damages the back of the eye and can cause blindness if untreated.
The man had an appointment at Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin and then laser surgery at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, before a follow-up appointment at ARI.
The report said a “failure in the booking system” caused a delay in arranging the follow-up appointment, which contributed to his condition worsening and needing surgery, which was successful.
The report said the man’s poor clarity of vision “was possibly not related to the delay and may have been due to other elements of diabetic retinopathy”.
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SPSO said the man had waited more than three months for laser treatment after screening “outwith the timescales recommended”.
The report said: “It was difficult to determine whether the deterioration in sight occurred as a consequence of the previous problems with diabetic retinopathy or whether this was a secondary event.”
SPSO asked NHS Grampian to apologise to the man for the delays and ensure it has a follow-up system so patients are seen within an appropriate time frame and appropriately followed up across different sites.
An NHS Grampian said: “The care we provided was not what it should have been. We have apologised to the patient involved and would also take this opportunity to apologise to him publicly.”