NHS Western Isles has apologised for the delay in helping a patient access mental health services.
The patient complained to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) after being forced to wait 17 weeks between appointments after being referred to a psychiatrist for cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
The SPSO found the communications and delays experienced by the complainant, known as Patient C were unacceptable.
The ombudsman noted Patient C, who was seeking support for anxiety and depression, experienced a deterioration in their mental health whilst undergoing treatment and went 17 weeks between appointments.
The investigation found there was a further unplanned and unexplained gap of seven weeks between out-patient appointments, which the SPSO has said was “unreasonable”.
Within their findings, the SPSO recommended NHS Western Isles apologise for “failing to clarify precisely when CBT referral was withdrawn and for the significant unscheduled interruptions to out-patient psychiatric care”.
The ombudsman ordered the health board to apologise for failing to explain the delays to Patient C and recommended better communication methods be implemented in the future when unscheduled interruptions to patient care occur.
An NHS Western Isles spokeswoman said: “NHS Western Isles has accepted the recommendations in this report.
“NHS Western Isles has apologised to this individual for the failures identified and has taken action to address these.”
Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan said he was disappointed to learn of the incident.
He said: “I hope that NHS Western Isles is able to learn from this incident and ensure that people in the islands seeking help with their mental health receive this in good time in future.”