A HEALTH board has apologised to the family of a child who was given an overdose of a powerful opiate drug because the syringe hadn’t been emptied.

An inquiry found a doctor failed to discard excess amounts of morphine from a syringe before it was administered to the young patient.

NHS Ayrshire and Arran has been ordered to review procedures for intravenous drugs following the incident. The location was not named in the report.

Babies and young children as well as older people are more likely to get side effects from morphine.

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An accidental overdose can make the patient sleepy, sick or dizzy, and may also make it difficult to breathe. In serious cases patients can become unconscious and may need emergency treatment.

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman took independent advice from a consultant paediatrician and upheld three separate complaints.

The report states: “We found that that A  (the child) had received an overdose of morphine as a result of a doctor failing to discard excess morphine from a syringe.”

The inquiry found staff were unable to prove that the child had been monitored after being given the morphine.

NHS Ayrshire and Arran was also criticised for “failing to provide a reasonable response to the complaint and delaying the response.

The health board has been ordered to review their guidelines for administration of intravenous medication.

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Joanne Edwards, director of acute services at NHS Ayrshire and Arran, said: “In addition to our formal apology to the family of child A, I can advise that we have fully accepted all the recommendations in the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) report.

“We have addressed the issues highlighted and made the appropriate changes, in terms of reviewing our guidelines for the administration of intravenous medication, the recording of patient monitoring and observations requirements, and complaints handling.

“In order to ensure learning across the organisation, we will share the findings from the report with staff, in particular with those responsible for the operational delivery of the service and with our clinical governance teams.”