HEALTH chiefs have apologised to an asthmatic patient for a mix-up over a change in their inhaler. 

The individual, known only as C, suffered breathing difficulties after the move was recommended by a specialist at Airdrie's University Hospital Monklands. 

However, a watchdog found the consultant had not been aware of the patient's condition due to an admin mistake and absolved the medic of any blame. 

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The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) did, however, tell NHS Lanarkshire bosses to say sorry and to make people more aware in future of the possible risks and benefits of changing inhalers. 

Dr John Keaney, NHS Lanarkshire acute divisional medical director, said: "We regret any instance where we fail to provide the highest standards of care for our patients and we will contact the complainants directly to offer our sincere apologies for the failings identified in the reports.

“We have fully accepted the recommendations within the Ombudsman’s reports and will develop an action plan to address them. 

"The lessons learned will be shared to help avoid similar occurrences in future." 

As well as the recommendations over inhaler changes, the health board has been told that all clinic letters should clearly list confirmed and suspected diagnoses. 

In a ruling, the watchdog wrote: "We took independent advice from a consultant in respiratory and general internal medicine. 

"We found that a clinic letter from a few years earlier did not make it clear that a diagnosis of asthma was suspected nor list the medication with doses that C was receiving. 

"We noted that the lack of clarity regarding C's suspected diagnosis and treatment resulted in C's GP and subsequent hospital consultants not being aware that C had a possible diagnosis of asthma. 

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"Based on the information known to the consultant at the time, it was reasonable to consider combining the Relvar and Incruse inhalers in to a Trelegy inhaler. 

"However, there was no evidence in the records that the change in medication was explained to C in a reasonable way. 

"In particular, we noted that the possible risks and benefits of this change were not explained to C."