An eye removal operation carried out by the North Cumbria University Hospital Trust has been found to have been ‘avoidable’.

Eric Stevenson, who passed away in 2017, was referred to Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle in 2016 with impaired vision in his left eye. The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman said the four months it took to diagnose the infection was too long and it had caused ‘significant distress’ to Stevenson, who was only given eye drops and steroid medication as treatment.

Stevenson asked to be referred to another trust, which found his infection to be so severe that the eye could not be saved.

Ombudsman spokesman Rob Behrens said: ‘The fact that this happened because of failings in NHS care, is inexcusable.’

Stephen Eames, chief executive for the hospital trust, added: ‘The care provided to Mrs Stevenson's husband fell below acceptable standards.’