Ombudsman Makes Complaint Records Available

NHS Trusts Urged To Listen To Patients On Care Issues

20.08.2014

Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has made a number of public NHS complaint records available to the media.

According to the ombudsman, a large number of devastating NHS failures have led to financial hardship and emotional issues for families across England, reports the Press Association.

In one case, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust misdiagnosed a man as having a blood clot when he actually had a blood vessel tear in his heart - causing his death.

After a review, it was decided that doctors missed a chance to save him.

Commenting, a Department of Health spokesperson said: "Listening to patients is one of the best ways to improve standards and we welcome this increased transparency around complaints. 

"Hospitals should make sure patients, their families and carers know how to complain - including displaying information on the complaints system in every ward."

Earlier this month it was announced that GP surgeries that provide "poor or unsafe care" will be shut down under a two strike policy.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC), which aims to improve the standard of healthcare across the country, will have the power to threaten any facility that fails two inspections in a row with closure.

If, after a six month period following the first sub-standard inspection, substantial improvements are not seen, the CQC will send senior investigators to look at the possibility of putting more serious sanctions in place.

But the CQC does not want to rely solely on inspections and will use a number of public health intelligence tools to find patient safety issues - including whistleblowers and complaints.

Expert Opinion
The financial and emotional hardship experienced by patients and their families as a result of failings within the NHS is extremely worrying. Patient care and treatment standards should be the top priority for the NHS. It is vital all failures are reported to the appropriate organisations and action is taken to resolve them immediately so that lessons can be learnt to prevent similar incidents that have been highlighted in this report from being repeated.

“It is positive to hear that the Department of Health is encouraging NHS Trusts to talk to patients about their concerns and to improve transparency within the complaints procedure. We have seen numerous incidents where patients have suffered as a result of failings not being identified or corrected in a timely fashion once reported and we urge Trusts to continue discussing care standards with patients and striving to make improvements where required so it can provide the best possible health service.”
Julie Lewis, Partner