NHS Borders has apologised to a patient after it was deemed that the health board failed to obtain proper consent for an “invasive procedure”.

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) chose to uphold a complaint on the matter in a decision report published in December.

The complainant – referred to as ‘C’ in the document – took issue with NHS Borders’ handling of their grandparent’s consent for surgery.

The SPSO report stated: “A [the grandparent] had vascular dementia (a common form of dementia, caused by problems in the supply of blood to the brain) and was resident in a care home.

“A had Adults With Incapacity (AWI) status and their child had Power of Attorney (PoA) for their welfare and financial needs. A was admitted to hospital due to abnormal liver function tests. It was subsequently decided that they should undergo an invasive procedure.

“C complained to the board that A’s consultant obtained their consent for the invasive procedure without any contact being made with A’s next of kin or listed PoA.

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“In response to C’s complaint, the board said that the relevant consultant considered that A had the capacity to make this decision. The board reiterated that the presence of a PoA does not mean that an individual is unable to make their own decisions.

“They said that it was the consultant’s clinical professional opinion at that time that A had the capacity to consent to the invasive procedure as they were aware of being previously offered the procedure and said that they wanted something done.

“We took independent advice from a mental health nurse adviser. We found that there was sufficient information available in the clinical records to highlight A’s potential capacity issues and it was unreasonable that this was not properly considered.

“We found that A’s consent for the procedure was not properly obtained. In light of this, we upheld the complaint.”

Dr Lynn McCallum, medical director at NHS Borders, said: “We have accepted the recommendations identified by the SPSO and have implemented an improvement plan to avoid similar experiences from happening in the future.

“We are sincerely sorry for the effect that this event had on C and their family and have issued them with an apology.”