A patient was paid £8,000 in compensation after a Sussex hospital missed an opportunity to treat a serious eye condition.

The incident left the patient with “probably permanent and irreversible” eye damage.

The case has been highlighted in the Health Service Ombudsman’s annual complaints report.

The diabetic patient, referred to as Mrs D, should have been screened annually for eye damage at a clinic run by Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust.

However, the trust failed to provide this for almost two years, the report said.

When she did have her appointment, damage to the inside of her eye was seen and she had another test the following month.

This showed a condition called macular disease, which the trust said was no longer treatable.

Screening guidelines

The report said: “We found that the trust did not act in line with national guidelines, which say that screening should be carried out every 12 months.

“They did not adequately investigate Mrs D’s macular disease because they did not use a scan to take a very detailed picture of the inside of her eye.

“We also found that they did not adequately diagnose Mrs D’s macular disease, because they said it could not be treated, when in fact treatment was available.

“When the trust diagnosed her condition, they missed an opportunity to give her treatment that would have stabilised or even improved her eyesight.”

The report said the trust agreed to write to Mrs D to acknowledge and apologise for the failings and pay her £8,000 in compensation. The trust took steps to improve their screening service, after the incident in 2009.

The report revealed there were 87 complaints made against Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust in 2011/2 with one fully upheld.

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust had 31 complaints, with six upheld.

Western Sussex had 44 complaints with one case upheld.

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