NHS criticised for its handling of complaints

The report, entitled ‘A review into the quality of NHS complaints investigations’, found that 73 per cent of cases where the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman found clear failings, hospital investigations of the same incident had claimed there were no failings in the care given.

Mellor’s investigation suggests that 20 of 28 avoidable harm cases were not classed as serious incidents, meaning they were not investigated properly, and 19 per cent of investigations that did take place were missing crucial evidence, such as medical records. More than a third (36 per cent) of NHS investigations that Mellor reviewed did not find out why the complaints had happened.

Mellor has warned that these inadequate investigations have led to patients and families feeling distraught and without answers, while also delaying much needed improvements in the NHS.

She suggests that a key reason for these failings, Mellor suggests, is that hospitals often do not gather enough evidence and use inconsistent methods to analyse the evidence they gather. Additionally, the report criticised some investigations for not being carried out by someone sufficiently removed from the incidents.

Mellor said: “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.

“Our review found that NHS investigations into complaints about avoidable death and harm are simply not good enough. They are not consistent, reliable or transparent, which means that too many people are being forced to bring their complaint to us to get it resolved.

“We want the NHS to introduce an accredited training programme for staff carrying out these investigations as well as guidance on how they should be done, so the public can be confident that when someone is needlessly harmed it has been thoroughly investigated and answers provided, so that action can be taken to prevent the same mistakes from happening again.”

Read more

Event Diary

Safety & Health Expo is the UK’s largest event for the health and safety sector, helping 13,000+ global professionals source innovative solutions across occupational health, wellbeing, PPE and more.