BOSSES at Borders General Hospital have been told to apologise after delays in diagnosing a woman's painful breast abscess.

The new mum, who hasn't been named, suffered difficulties in breast-feeding as well as distress after her ultrasound scan was cancelled.

As well as making an apology, the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) has instructed NHS Borders to 'ensure ultrasound scans are carried out within a reasonable timeframe'.

The woman filed a complaint with the SPSO about an unreasonable delay in her diagnosis.

Although she had been referred to the BGH with a suspected abscess by her doctor, the surgeon at the hospital discharged her.

A spokesperson for the SPSO stated: "Her GP referred her to Borders General Hospital with a suspected breast abscess after she had been suffering from mastitis - when a woman's breast tissue becomes painful and inflamed.

"On admission, a surgeon said that there was no evidence of an abscess and she was discharged.

"She was due to return for an ultrasound scan the following day, however, the hospital changed her appointment to a later date."

During the delay, the woman experienced a deterioration in her condition.

And it was only after she was referred back tot he hospital for a second time that the scan was carried out and she received confirmation that she had developed a breast abscess.

The SPSO spokesperson added: "An ultrasound scan was carried out which confirmed that she had a breast abscess, requiring surgery.

"She said the length of time that it took for a scan to be arranged meant that there was an unreasonable delay in diagnosing her with a breast abscess and, as a result, she endured significant distress and her baby did not gain weight appropriately due to difficulties with breastfeeding."

NHS Borders have implemented the changes required by the SPSO.

A spokeswoman said: "The quality of care that the woman received was not of the standard we expect for our patients.

"We have accepted the recommendations identified in full and have made the changes required so that similar experiences should be avoided in the future.

"We are sincerely sorry for the effect that this had on both the patient and her family and have offered a full apology.”