NHS FIFE have apologised to a mum after her child was treated in hospital for an overdose of an anti-epilepsy drug.

A complaint had been made to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) about the care and treatment the child of the mum – referred to as Ms C – received at Kirkcaldy's Victoria Hospital.

The youngster was prescribed various drugs to try to manage their epilepsy. One drug prescribed, phenytoin, resulted in an overdose which required hospital treatment.

Ms C's main concern was that her child was not appropriately monitored, which allowed the level of phenytoin to build up in its blood. She also complained about the board's handling of her complaint.

Both complaints were upheld by the ombudsman.

The ombudsman sought independent medical advice from a consultant paediatrician and found the dose of phenytoin given to the youngster – referred to as Child A – was increased at their clinic review and the child was referred appropriately for blood tests to monitor the impact of this increase.

However, the SPSO report then stated: "We found that the clinic review was not appropriately recorded and that there was an unreasonable delay in communicating with the child's GP about it. We found that the results of Child A's blood tests showed a surprising level of phenytoin in their blood, which should have prompted a clinical review. We also found that appropriate action should then have been taken, which would have been to repeat the blood tests."

The ombudsman also found that the board delayed in acknowledging Ms C's complaint and failed to communicate appropriately with her both during and at the conclusion of their investigation.

The SPSO told NHS Fife to apologise to Ms C for the failure to appropriately monitor Child A; for the issue of record-keeping and GP communication; and for their communication with Ms C in relation to her complaint.

Paul Hawkins, NHS Fife chief executive, said: “We take very seriously all instances where our care may have fallen below our high standards.

“We note the findings of the ombudsman and have reviewed our recording, monitoring and review mechanisms in this area to help ensure similar shortcomings do not occur in future.

"I would also like to take this opportunity to reiterate our apology to Ms C and her child.”

The SPSO said that in future, the results of blood tests carried out to monitor phenytoin levels should be clinically reviewed and actioned appropriately. The report also stated that clinical appointments should be recorded appropriately and actions should be shared with primary care/patients in a timely manner. A recommendation over the complaint handling was given and said updates should be provided to complainants when the 20-working day timescale will not be met; and follow-up correspondence should be responded to appropriately.