A PATIENT who died at Forth Valley Royal Hospital after developing pneumonia was not given prompt and appropriate treatment for possible sepsis, an investigation has found.

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman has upheld two complaints against NHS Forth Valley last month, relating to the treatment and diagnosis of a patient.

Patient A was first admitted to Forth Valley Royal Hospital before being transferred to Stirling Community Hospital a few weeks later.

While at Stirling the patient developed pneumonia, a chest infection, and was transferred back to the hospital in Larbert a few days later. However, the A's condition deteriorated and the patient later died.

In its decision report, the ombudsman said: "We found that when A's condition worsened at Stirling Community Hospital, A should have been urgently reviewed by medical staff in case A had sepsis (a severe complication of infection).

"We found that when A's condition worsened significantly at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, A was not given prompt and appropriate antibiotic treatment for possible sepsis.

"We found that A was not reviewed by medical staff within reasonable timeframes.

"We also found that anticipatory care planning had not taken place with A and their family, given it was likely A had been nearing the end of their life before they had developed pneumonia.

"We upheld this complaint."

A complaint over the patient's nursing care at Forth Valley Royal was also upheld as they were not given appropriate falls and personal care.

The ombudsman's report added: "We found that nursing staff should have formed and recorded a specific plan to address A's risk of falls at night/overnight, as that was when A was at highest risk of falling.

"We also found that there was a lack of evidence of regular and appropriate care rounding to meet A's personal care needs."

The health board has since issued an apology to the patient's family over the "failings".

A spokeswoman for NHS Forth Valley told the Advertiser: "We have written to the family to apologise for the failings in the care and treatment provided and will ensure that action is taken to address all of the ombudsman's recommendations to help prevent similar issues from occurring in the future."

In the recommendations the ombudsman's report said, among other things, that if a patient's condition worsens and it could be due to sepsis, this should be recognised and treated appropriately.

Recommendations were also made around care plans and medical handovers between teams.

Another recommendation said that if concerns are raised about care by patients or relatives, this should be escalated to the senior medical staff overseeing their care.

Sepsis is a life threatening condition and it can be hard to spot – according to the NHS website.

It happens when the immune system overreacts to an infection and starts to damage the patient's own tissues and organs.

Sepsis is sometimes referred to as septicaemia or blood poisoning.