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Poor complaints handling by NHS has ‘serious human costs’ – Ombudsman

The “human cost” of poor service and complaints handling by the NHS in England has been laid bare in a new report published by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

The document, which contains 121 summaries of complains investigated between December and January, highlights three avoidable deaths, multiple examples of inadequate end-of-life care and seven cases of poor care during pregnancy and maternity.

Approximately 80% of the Ombudsman’s investigations were about the NHS and 20% were about UK government departments and their agencies. But almost half of complaints about the NHS in England were about (or partially about) dissatisfaction in how complaints were handled.

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman Julie Mellor said: “Often people complain to us because they don’t want someone else to go through what they or their loved one went through. This report shows the types of unresolved complaints we receive and the human cost of that poor service and complaint handling.

“Many of the complaints that come to us should have been resolved by the organisation complained about. Complaints provide an opportunity for learning and improvements and should be embraced at all levels of the organisation from the Board to the frontline.”

During the two-month reporting period, the Ombudsman investigated a total of 58 cases of avoidable death and upheld or partially upheld 29 of those.

The report found that lives could possibly have been saved if doctors and nurses had taken more time to act in line with guidance and good practice.

In one case, it was revealed that a man from the East Midlands died of a bladder infection a week after he was admitted to North Lincolnshire & Goole hospital for a routine bladder operation. It was noted that the hospital foundation trust not only failed in its care, which led to the man's death, it also made his daughter wait excessively for a response to her complaint.

In a statement sent to NHE, an NHS England spokesperson said: “Public satisfaction with the NHS is high but clearly there are some unacceptable cases where people are not getting the high quality care they deserve.

“Patient feedback is important in highlighting any negative experiences that need to be acted upon. By listening to patients and carers through tools such as the Friends and Family Test, we can learn from experience and improve services for all.”


Mr Paul Jackman   20/01/2016 at 06:12

THE TRUTH is that the government run #phso #gmcuk #cqc have all been working together covering up medical records & murder its been 6 yr my case was covered up and SIR ROBERT FRANCIS sent me a E/MAIL SAYING WE USED YOU CASE IN THE REPORT THAT BEEN BLOCKED DATE 14/10/2014 and still can't get justice DISGUSTING & BARBARIC

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