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Call for action after A&E cancer blunder

ACTION must be taken to ensure mistakes which were made in the treatment of a woman who was in severe pain due to having undiagnosed ovarian cancer are not repeated, Scottish Labour have said.

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman this week recommended application of guidelines used by NHS Tayside, which led to a patient being redirected from the accident and emergency department at Dundee's Ninewells Hospital to her GP, are reviewed.

Earlier this month, the Scottish Government said a policy based on the NHS Tayside model would be rolled out nationwide, raising concern from charity Target Ovarian Cancer more cases could be missed. The 32-year-old patient's cancer was only diagnosed one month after she visited A&E and she died less than six months after she was sent away from the department.

Neil Findlay, Labour's health spokesman, said: "Mechanisms must be in place to ensure that acute cases such as this are not missed and seriously ill people aren't being sent home in pain.

"As this system is rolled out nationally, the Health Secretary Alex Neil needs to look at what's happened here and learn lessons, fixing the problems within A&E can't be about tickbox exercises, it has to be about putting patient care first."

The Scottish Government said that feedback on the current system would be taken into account before draft guidance is finalised. A spokesman said all patients would be assessed by a senior clinician before a decision on whether they should be redirected is taken.

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