Strength in Numbers dedicated to my late mother Kay

Wall of silence that shames the NHS: Grieving families who complain over blunders are ‘fobbed off’, damning report reveals

  • Some relatives are even left not knowing why their loved ones have died
  • Fobbed off with reports written by medics that absolve the NHS of blame
  • Hospitals cleared staff in 73% of cases where failures led to death or harm
  • Dame Julie Mellor made five recommendations to patient safety service

Grieving families face a wall of silence when they complain about NHS blunders, the health ombudsman warns today. Julie Mellor’s damning report reveals that some relatives are left not even knowing why a loved one has died. They are fobbed off with impenetrable reports that absolve the NHS of blame and are often written by the medics at fault.

‘Parents and families are being met with a wall of silence from the NHS when they seek answers as to why their loved one died or was harmed,’ said Dame Julie. ‘People want answers, to understand what happened and why, and to know that action is being taken to prevent the same thing happening again to others.’

But her report found that hospitals cleared staff in 73 per cent of 150 cases where failures had led to avoidable death or serious harm.

Dame Julie’s team said internal probes in English hospitals were not ‘consistent, reliable or transparent’. In half of internal investigations, the medics leading the review were not ‘independent of the events complained about’.

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Filed under: NHS, NHS Blunders,

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