Strength in Numbers dedicated to my late mother Kay

New report sheds light on top hospital complaints investigated by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

A report published 22 September 2015 has revealed that, similar to last year, the top three reasons for hospital complaints investigated by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman in the last financial year (2014-15) were poor communication, errors in diagnosis and poor treatment.

Non-medical aspects of patient care are cited as a factor in almost half of all complaints investigated by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

Poor communication, including quality and accuracy of information, was a factor in one third of all complaints. Other reasons for complaints in this period included staff attitude and behaviour, which were factors in two out of 10 complaints.

The report outlines how many unresolved complaints the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman investigated for every acute trust in England and the final decision made.

Click on the link to read more

Click on the link to read the report

Complaints about acute trusts 2014-15



Filed under: NHS, , ,

Over 350 complaints made about care at Black County hospital

The complaints to Walsall Manor chief executive Richard Kirby were made during the 2014/15 financial year.

The main causes were clinical care, assessment and treatment, waiting time and discharge arrangement. The annual report from Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust has shown there were 380 written complaints direct to the chief executive. Health chiefs say they aim to respond within 30 days and have already made some changes. These include more staff working in the outpatient booking office, extra clinics and working in partnership with social services.

The annual report said: “In 2014/15 we responded to 60.4 per cent of complainants within 30 working days. Since November 2014, the average number of complaints responded to within 30 working days has improved significantly to 86.2 per cent. “We will be working to improve the response rate still further over the next 12 months. “We have fully embraced the parliamentary and health service ombudsman’s vision for ‘good; complaint handling which was published in November 2014 following widespread consultation with patients and social care users. “Our complaints handling process is quality assured to ensure the complainant has the opportunity to be engaged in the complaint process from the beginning, and is fully informed of any lessons learned and changes made as a result of an investigation.”

Article by The Express and Star




Filed under: Hospital, NHS, ,

Only one in three unhappy NHS patients actually complain, says new survey

Only one in three people who are unhappy with their NHS care or with other publics services actually complain, according to a survey conducted by the ombudsman.

The research found that while 90per cent believe that people who think they have had a poor service should complain, in practice, far fewer actually do. Reasons for not complaining included fears that it would be more hassle than it was worth, not knowing who to turn to, and concerns that the complaint would not be taken seriously. However, the most common reason not to complain was that people doubt it will make a difference.

The findings, from a survey of 4,623 people conducted by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO), are echoed by a second report, from patient advocacy group Healthwatch England, which found that only 21 per cent of NHS patients who have a poor care experience write a letter of complaint.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: NHS, NHS Blunders, ,

This is a short film developed as part of an investigation by Ombudsman Peter Tyndall into how public hospitals handle complaints in Ireland.

The Office of the Ombudsman, Ireland, examines complaints from members of the public who feel they have been unfairly treated by certain public bodies.

The investigation has found that people are afraid to complain about the care and treatment they receive in hospitals because they are concerned about the repercussions for themselves or their loved ones. More details are available on the website
Dara Gantly looks at how a ‘root and branch’ reform of our complaints process can enhance patient safety and the provision of care
Please click on the link to read
The Irish Medical Times Unlocking the patient complaints box

Filed under: Hospital, , ,

NHS ombudsman accused of being ‘defensive’ by MPs

The NHS ombudsman has been “defensive” and caused “pain” by its reluctance to admit mistakes when investigating patients’ complaints, a report by the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) has found.

The report adds that “serious questions” have been raised about the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) which has caused “considerable anguish” when it has failed to uncover the truth, it said. MPs now want a new independent body to investigate clinical failures before they reach the ombudsman to “transform the safety culture of the NHS”. Current systems are “complicated, take far too long and are preoccupied with blame or avoiding financial liability”, the committee warned.

Some of the PHSO’s shortcomings are systemic and can only be addressed through legislation, which is needed early in the next Parliament. Our proposals for a new investigatory body will help transform the safety culture of the NHS and help to raise standards right across the NHS.


The PASC said patients and NHS staff deserved to have clinical incidents “investigated immediately” at a local level to establish facts and evidence, “without the need to find blame, and regardless of whether a complaint has been raised”. There also needs to be a “clear, effective central system” for disseminating lessons learned from local incidents across the national NHS, it added. A spokeswoman for the PHSO said: “We will carefully study this report which raises important issues about the investigation of clinical incidents for the health system, as well as about our service.”

Click on the link to read the report here… Investigating clinical incidents in the NHS


ITV News

Filed under: Hospital, NHS, NHS Blunders, , , ,

Complaints and Raising Concerns – House of Commons Health Committee – Fourth Report of Session 2014–15

The Health Committee is appointed by the House of Commons to examine the expenditure, administration, and policy of the Department of Health and its associated bodies.

Click on the link to read

Click to access 350.pdf


Filed under: NHS Blunders, Uncategorized, , , ,

Patients fear being victimised when they complain to NHS and those who raised concerns were confronted by hostile staff

Patients who dare to complain about poor NHS care are made to feel frightened and left exhausted and disheartened, a report warns. Many of those who raised concerns were confronted by hostile staff who denied doing anything wrong. Others said they feared that pursuing the complaint would cause staff to treat them even worse out of spite.  The Patients Association report found that half of complaints were not handled well and warned that the culture of secrecy in the NHS had barely changed since the Mid Staffordshire hospital scandal, in which hundreds died due to neglect. An inquiry 18 months ago led by Sir Robert Francis QC called for sweeping reforms to the Health Service to make it more transparent. But the charity says that, based on patients’ experiences, there is little evidence of a culture shift.  Figures show that more than 3,300 complaints are made against NHS hospitals and GP surgeries by patients and their families every week – up by 5 per cent in a year, partly because the public are becoming more inclined to speak up. The Patients Association surveyed 1,200 people who had all complained about poor care experienced by themselves or a loved-one. Nearly half said the issue was poorly handled and a quarter said staff were unhelpful or defensive. Half were concerned that following up the complaint would make staff deliberately treat them or their loved-ones badly

Click on the link to read more

Copy and paste the link to download The Patients Association New Complaints Charter

One year on from the Clwyd-Hart report, NHS complaints system still not fit for purpose, despite numerous calls for reform.

Complaints distressing, difficult and frequently produce little result, say patients…



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Feedback on NHS organisations ‘valued and encouraged’ – NHS Confederation

The latest publication by the Ombudsman is a welcome reminder that we must have an unwavering focus on handling complaints. Positive and negative feedback about NHS organisations should be “equally valued and encouraged”, with patients confident that complaints will be dealt with promptly, effectively and appropriately, the head of the NHS Confederation has said. Responding to publication of the Health Service Ombudsman’s investigations into NHS complaints, Rob Webster said it is vital that patients, their families and carers feel safe and able to feed back on their NHS care and treatment. “While both positive and negative feedback should be equally valued and encouraged, it is essential that we make every effort to learn from when things go wrong, and that NHS organisations deal with patients’ concerns promptly, effectively and appropriately,” he said.

Click on the link to read more


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HealthWatch England – What are the solutions?

Change so far has only tinkered with the existing bureaucratic arrangements for complaints handling, and largely looked at things from the system’s perspective.

This is the wrong starting point for change.

Click on the link to post your comments


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Half of patients failed by NHS never hear the word ‘sorry

Half of patients failed by NHS never hear the word ‘sorry’: Just one in three feel they are taken seriously when they raise complaints

Fewer than half of those who complain to the NHS ever receive an apology, a report revealed yesterday. Only one in three patients feel they are taken seriously when they raise examples of poor care, the official complaints watchdog warned. Healthwatch England said the complaints handling process was ‘utterly bewildering and often ineffective’ – with far too many people put off by red tape or bounced round the system until they simply give up.  One exhausted patient told the watchdog: ‘This fight has robbed me of my flesh, dignity and energy.’ Another said: ‘There has been no outcome to my complaint – simply more distress, inconvenience, injury and injustice.

Click on the link to read more



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Complaints to NHS about staff attitude rise

More complaints are received by the NHS about the attitude of its staff than almost any other subject, official figures have revealed.
Last year there were more than 13,000 written complaints about staff attitude, an eight per cent increase on the previous year.
The figures will raise questions about the governments dignity and respect agenda which is supposed to be central to patient care.
The data, from the Health and Social Care Information Centre, showed that the only subject area where there were more complaints was clinical treatment, with more than 52,000 complaints in 2013/14.
Overall the number of written complaints received by the NHS in England has risen by four per cent to reach 174,000, the equivalent of 480 per day.

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Complaints against doctors double

The rise in the use of social media has contributed to a doubling of complaints against doctors in five years, it has been reported.
Negative press coverage and a decline in “deference” towards doctors from patients has led to the soaring number of complaints, which rose from 5,168 in 2007 to 10,347 in 2012.

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Hospital patients and staff scared to complain says MP

Patients, relatives, and staff are scared of speaking out about problems in hospitals, MP Ann Clwyd has warned.
Ms Clwyd – critical of her late husband’s care in a Cardiff hospital – said some were afraid complaining would mean poorer treatment.
She said she had calls about the issue from medical staff who would not give names for fear of being sacked.
Ministers said they wanted everyone to “feel comfortable” raising any concerns they have about the Welsh NHS.

Click on the link to read more


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NHS ‘falling short on complaints handling’ – Also contact BBC – Looking for people – How your complaint was handled?

The NHS still has a long way to go to improve the way it handles complaints, although there are signs of improvement, a survey suggests.
The NHS has been heavily criticised over its complaints system in the wake of the Stafford Hospital scandal.
The poll of 4,000 people in the UK by Populus for consumer group Which? found just a quarter were happy with the way their complaint had been handled

Have you had recent cause to register a complaint over NHS treatment? How was the complaint handled? You can email your experiences to, using the subject line ‘NHS complaints’ in the link below.

Click on the link


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