NHS failing to learn lessons from complaints, says health ombudsman
A snapshot of complaints received by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) reveals a high number of complaints made to the NHS and consistent failure to learn from mistakes, the PHSO has said.
Of the 133 cases in the report, which were investigated between July and September last year, 93 were about the NHS.
In another PHSO report last year, nearly 80% of complaints were about the NHS.
Julie Mellor, the PHSO, said: “The NHS provides excellent care for patients every day, which is why it is so important that when mistakes are made they are dealt with well.
“These cases bring home all the suffering patients and their families experience when things go wrong, particularly when complaints are not handled effectively at a local level. Families have been left without an explanation as to why their loved ones died, mistakes have not been admitted, which means that much needed service improvements are being delayed.”
In one incident in the report, Alder Hey Children’s FT was required to pay £1,000 compensation to the complainant after it took 29 months to diagnose her son with autism and dyslexia, meaning he missed out on early intervention and support.
In another case, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals FT paid £1,000 to the daughter of a woman in her 90s who died after the hospital sent her home without diagnosing her with gastric ulcers. The PHSO said it was possible she would not have died if she had been diagnosed earlier.
King’s College Hospital FT also had to pay £1,500 to the widow of a man who died of pancreatic cancer that the trust initially failed to diagnose.
Phil McCarvill, deputy director of policy at NHS Confederation, said: “This report includes a series of incidents that should never happen and which the NHS takes very seriously. More than ever before, the NHS is actively encouraging those who use services and its own staff to come forward with any concerns about patient care – and it does listen.
“It is essential that we continue to learn from these incidents and improve care for all those who use the NHS. When things do go wrong it is crucial that the family receives an apology, an explanation and a clear understanding of what lessons have been learned.”
The PHSO reported recently that it had investigated 221 complaints related to hospital discharge in the past year, finding that many hospitals were discharging elderly patients without ensuring that they were in a fit state.
(Image c. alexskopje)
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